Weld County job growth among the fastest in the nation | MyWindsorNow.com

Weld County job growth among the fastest in the nation

Trevor Reid
treid@greeleytribune.com

Over the past five years, Weld County's employment has increased by 19.8 percent, coming in at seventh place on a list of U.S. metropolitan areas adding the most jobs.

The website 24/7 Wall Street released its list Friday of metropolitan areas that added the most jobs during the past half decade, ranking the Greeley Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Weld County, near the top.

With an unemployment rate of 2.3 percent in the county as of May, employers in Weld are working hard to fill positions.

"We've been pretty fortunate for the most part, but whereas I used to be able to maybe pick from 10 or 15 applicants, that number has declined greatly," said Tim Veldhuizen, owner of Greeley Chophouse, 804 8th St., and other local restaurants.

Veldhuizen said the shrinking pool of potential employees means employers have to do a couple of things: keep the good employees happy at their jobs and cast a wider net.

"If there's a specific job that we're looking for, like for instance the head chef, you have to look a lot farther afield to find some qualified people than you used to have to do," he said.

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With the national unemployment rate at 4.3 percent — its lowest point since May 2001 — Veldhuizen isn't alone in the search for qualified employees. The Fort Collins area saw an 18.9 percent increase in employment from 2012 to 2017, placing just below Weld County in job growth. Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Chamber of Commerce, said she doesn't doubt the area's growth for a second.

"We just had a meeting yesterday with a group of our employers and every single one said, 'We can hire people right now today.' So it comes as absolutely no surprise," MacQuiddy said.

According to the 24/7 Wall Street list, the biggest contributing factor to job growth in Weld County has been the government sector, which has employed 2,300 more people in the past five years. MacQuiddy said those 2,300 people are working to keep up with the constant growth in the area.

"To keep up with our planning and recreation, you're going to see those jobs multiplying," she said. "We've got to keep up and be able to deliver services to the residents."

Veldhuizen said he looks at the small unemployment rate as a double-edged sword.

"Even though it might make certain aspects of your job a little more difficult or a little more time-consuming, the other side of it is there's more potential customers out there, and that's a good thing."

Adding jobs

The Greeley Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is all of Weld County, ranked seventh in the nation for most jobs added in the past five years, according to a business news website. To see the full list, click here.

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