unemployment in many rural Colorado regions remains relatively low

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released the March unemployment report today, and it shows little has changed over the past month for the state as a whole–March unemployment was 7.8 percent, seasonally adjusted. Over the past year Colorado has added 45,800 jobs, knocking 0.7 percentage points off the unemployment rate.

Within the report, however, are estimates of county unemployment rates that tell a more nuanced story. In this post I will look at some of the state’s rural areas, reporting on their progress over the past 12 months. (As a heads up, the county numbers are NOT seasonally adjusted; the state benchmark here is 8.2 percent, which is down from 8.8 percent a year ago.)

For the regions below–which are some of the state’s larger rural areas–the March unemployment rate averaged 8.1 percent, slightly lower than the state benchmark.

Most of these rural regions have unemployment rates well below the states, with all but Sterling’s rate declining over the past year. Montrose and Canon City are struggling, however, with unemployment rates exceeding 10 percent.

The south-central regions (Alamosa-Conejos, Otero-Crowley, and Canon City) all have above average rates, while the northeast regions (Fort Morgan and Sterling) are below average.

Tourism regions (Durango, Edwards and Silverthorne) have below average rates.

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