Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Garfield County Economic Update

Garfield County began 2016 with a mixed performance on the jobs front. Although the first two months of 2016 showed year-over declines in employment, March ended the quarter with a healthy 4-percent increase. Whether job growth or job contraction will win out in 2016 is not yet clear. Joblessness does appear to be on the upswing after edging down for most of 2015. In addition, the county’s always high unemployment rate measures more than double the state average. On the other hand, first-time claims for unemployment insurance show no signs of nonseasonal activity. Gross taxable sales rounded out this diverse set of economic indicators with a strong first-quarter increase.
  • While, overall, Garfield County’s first quarter 2016 nonfarm employment dipped by 0.5 percent in comparison to the previous year, March ended the quarter on the upswing. 
  • Between March 2015 and March 2016, the county added 70 new jobs for a year-to-year gain of nearly 4 percent. 
  • A notable employment gain in leisure/hospitality services employment was canceled out by a notable job loss in the public sector. 
  • Other industries showing job gains included manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare/social services and information. 
  • Garfield County’s already high jobless rate has been trending up since late 2015. 
  • In June 2016, the county’s unemployment rate registered 8.8 percent. 
  • The seasonal nature of the Garfield County’s labor market results in a perennially high jobless rate. 
  • The lack of significant claims activity suggests the unemployment uptick is the result of workers entering or re-entering the labor market. 
  • So far in 2016, first-time claims have followed a seasonal pattern with no sign of cyclical distress. 
  • Garfield County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continued to slowly edge upward. 
  • However, the first quarter 2016 figure showed a barely noticeable year-to-year gain. 
  • Current construction data is not available for Garfield County. 
  • Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, Garfield County’s gross taxable sales increased by a robust 18 percent. 
  • Accommodations and retail trade experienced the strongest sales gains.