Weld County unemployment rate slightly rises in June, remains one of lowest in the state | MyWindsorNow.com

Weld County unemployment rate slightly rises in June, remains one of lowest in the state

Katarina Velazquez
kvelazquez@greeleytribune.com

Weld County's unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point in June but remains one of the lowest in the state, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

According to the survey of households, Weld's June rate is 2.5 percent, which is two percentage points higher than it was in May, when it was 2.3 percent. Last year in June, the rate was 3.9 percent. These numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

Overall, Weld in June gained another 300 jobs in the mining, logging and construction sector — which includes the oil and gas industry — over the month, bringing year-to-date addition to 1,300. According to the department's senior economist, Ryan Gedney, the oil and gas industry is slowly rebounding from when prices crashed a couple years ago, noting the state's rig count is twice what it was a year ago. Gedney speculates the department's numbers for mining and logging employment are likely being underestimated.

"Right now, the over-the-year growth isn't negative," he said. "Obviously (the oil and gas industry) is having trouble finding some workers, but not to the extent where there's negative job growth over the year … It seems like it's steady, at least."

The biggest monthly job decline in Weld came in the service-providing and government sectors, which lost 1,000 and 1,400 jobs over the month, respectively.

Weld's unemployment rate is slightly above the state's unchanged average rate, which is 2.3 percent. The state's unemployment rate has remained steady the past three months and has been the lowest in the country for four consecutive months, according to Gedney. Gedney said, historically, there have been only three states below that rate: New Hampshire at 2.2 percent in 1987, Connecticut at 2.2 percent in 2000 and Virginia has the record at 2.1 percent in 2000.

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Employers in Colorado added 6,500 nonfarm payroll jobs from May to June for a total of 2,647,000 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Despite weak job growth in March and April, Gedney said Colorado is adding an average 4,800 nonfarm payroll jobs per month so far this year, compared to the 3,700 per month average in the first six months of 2016.

Statewide, the largest private-sector job gains were in trade, transportation, utilities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. Mining and logging declined over the year.

The state's unemployment is nearly half the national unemployment rate, which increased one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 4.4 percent. Alaska had the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 6.8 percent, Gedney said.

Unemployment numbers

MSA: June / May / June 2016

» Boulder: 2.3 percent / 2.1 percent / 3.1 percent

» Colorado Springs: 3.1 / 2.7 / 4.3

» Denver-Aurora-Lakewood: 2.5 / 2.3 / 3.5

» Fort Collins: 2.1 / 2.0 / 3.2

» Greeley (Weld County): 2.5 / 2.3 / 3.9

» Grand Junction: 3.6 / 3.3 / 6.1

» Pueblo: 4.0 / 3.6 / 5.5

Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment