Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Garfield County Economic Update

Garfield County’s employment levels failed to demonstrate steady improvement as 2016 progressed. Despite some brief signs of progress, by the end of second quarter, jobs showed continuing contraction. Joblessness edged up for the first half of the year only to slip back down in July and August. The late summer improvement may signal better news on the jobs front. However, due to the seasonal nature of the economy, 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 provide the best economic news with more than two straight years of expansion.
  • Between June 2015 and June 2016, Garfield County’s nonfarm jobs dropped by roughly 2 percent, representing a decline nearly 60 positions. 
  • Employment contraction in public education and transportation accounted for the lion’s share of job losses although leisure/hospitality services and construction took job hits as well. 
  • Healthcare/social services, manufacturing and retail trade added notable numbers of new positions but these gains were not enough to offset other losses. 
  • Garfield County’s already high jobless rate edged up in the first half of the year only to edge down in recent months. 
  • In August 2016, the county’s unemployment rate registered 8.4 percent. 
  • The seasonal nature of the Garfield County’s labor market results in a perennially high jobless rate. 
  • So far in 2016, first-time claims have followed a seasonal pattern with no sign of cyclical distress. 
  • Although Garfield County’s average monthly wage continues to increase, improvements are minor. 
  • Between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage increased by less than 2 percent. 
  • Gross taxable sales continued as the brightest spot in the Garfield County economy. 
  • The second quarter year-over gain measured a robust 6 percent. 
  • Sales in the accommodations industry generated much of the additional sales with retail trade improving as well.