September’s unemployment rate was Grand County’s lowest in 30 years.
Only 1.6% of the county’s labor force is unemployed, equivalent to just 158 people according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
The prior record occurred in July 1999, when the county’s unemployment rate dipped to 1.7%. However, with 30 years of data, September’s was the lowest it had ever been.
This is after the year started with the highest unemployment rate since 2016 — 3.3% in January — reflecting state and national trends during the same month.
The number is less than half the national unemployment rate, which was 3.3% in September not seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to Ryan Gedney, a senior economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the state’s unemployment rate was 2.2% for September not seasonally adjusted, also a record low.
The seasonally adjusted Colorado employment rate for September was 2.7%, which is slightly higher than the all-time low of 2.6% that happened multiple months in 2017.
Despite a record low for Grand, five counties had the same jobless rate, and nine counties were even lower.
Considering September’s percentage along with the 333 job openings reported online Thursday in Grand County, it’s apparent how tight the labor market is. Demand for workers in the county remains “high,” according to the Colorado Department of Employment and Labor.
But the tight labor market is not new.
“Despite record low unemployment in September, I would say
that Grand County’s labor market isn’t too dissimilar from what we’ve seen over
the past couple years,” Gedney said. “But the tight labor conditions do make it
difficult for employers to fill open positions.”
While low unemployment may be good news for workers, employers face additional challenges associated with limited staffing. Owners may hesitate to expand their business while others struggle find enough staff to keep businesses running full-time.
The employers with the most open positions in the county include Winter Park Resort and its owner, the Alterra Mountain Company, which account for a third of the openings combined.
The average wage in Grand is $17 an hour. The top growing
occupations include food serving and preparation, retail, housekeeping and