Thursday, October 31, 2013

Garfield County Economic Update

After an exuberant 2010, fate seems to have mostly thwarted Garfield County’s job creation efforts. While the county flirted with job gains in the first part of 2013, second quarter found the area in job-loss territory once again. Joblessness also ticked up slightly in recent months after trending downward. Additionally, construction has yet to make a rebound in the first few months of 2013 and the recent temporary shutdown resulted in an early spike in first-time claims for unemployment insurance. One positive indicator did surface. Gross taxable sales rose by 4 percent between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013. All in all, Garfield County’s economy continues to fall noticeably short of full economic health. Click "read more" for additional details and visualizations.

  • Between June 2012 and June 2013, Garfield County displayed a net decline of 94 jobs.
  • The accompanying 3-percent deterioration came primarily at the hands of the county’s bread-and-butter industry, leisure/hospitality services.
  • On the other hand, most major sectors landed in the jobs “red” column. Both retail trade and the public sector lost a notable number of positions.
  • Not all industries participated in the second-quarter employment contraction. Private education/health/social services counterbalanced a portion of jobs lost in other industries.
  • Although Garfield County’s unemployment rate has trended downward over the past several years, job loss seems apparent in the current slight uptick. As of August 2013, the county’s jobless rate measured 9.4 percent.
  • This figure measures substantially higher than both state and national rates despite a busy summer season. Remember, these figures are “seasonally adjusted” to reveal the trends. Because of the ebb and flow of tourism-related employment, Garfield County’s rate always appears abnormally high.
  • As in other counties with a strong federal presence, Garfield County experienced a spike in first-time claims for unemployment insurance in recent weeks as a result of the temporary shutdown. However, keep in mind, that as the tourist season comes to a close, this county typically begins to see the number of claims climb this time each year.
  • The first four months of 2013 produced no construction permitting activity in Garfield County. Of course, that situation could change dramatically as the year progresses.
  • Second quarter gross taxable sales made the best showing among Garfield County’s economic indicators. With a year-over gain of 4 percent, second quarter followed a tendency towards moderate growth over the past several years.