Thursday, October 22, 2015

Garfield County Economic Update

After a promising beginning to 2015, Garfield County once again found itself headed toward job-losing territory at the end of second quarter. While the loss proved minute (just three jobs), it marks a departure from the positive expansion of the previous months. Nevertheless, the county’s high jobless rate continued to ever-so-slowly decline. In the tourist-heavy summer and fall months, first-time claims for unemployment insurance have almost disappeared; but they should start their seasonal swell in upcoming weeks. It was a strong gain in gross taxable sales that provided the strongest promise for this struggling area.

  • Although Garfield County managed a bit of employment expansion earlier in the quarter, by June employment levels were down 0.1 percent on a year-to-year basis.
  • Job losses in retail trade and professional/business services more than counteracted improvements in information and the public sectors.
  • Earlier in the year almost every sector showed employment gains.
  • Because of Garfield County’s very seasonal economy, it typically sports a high seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.
  • Although at 8.3 percent in September 2015, Garfield County shows the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, it has been slowly improving since the year began.
  • First-time claims remained low as the tourist season wound down, but should begin their typical winter swell in upcoming weeks.
  • The seasonal nature of tourism also means leisure and hospitality services dominate the area’s claims figures.
  • The county’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to slowly improve.
  • The almost 9-percent year-to-year increase in second quarter gross taxable sales marked the best recent economic news for the county.
  • A surge in accommodations sales bucked up rather tepid overall gains in retail trade.