Pueblo

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pueblo Jobs

Colorado jobless rate unchanged at 4.5 percent

By KAREN VIGIL THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN

Pueblo's jobless rate rose nearly a percentage point to 6.2 percent in June from 5.4 percent in May, reflecting both ups and downs in seasonal hiring.
The 6.2 percent rate, however, still was slightly lower than the June 2005 figure of 6.8 percent.
Meanwhile, Colorado's and the U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous month. Colorado's remained at 4.5 percent and the national rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent, according to state and federal labor departments
In Pueblo, state officials surveyed the private/public sector and found that non-governmental jobs increased by 1,000, but governmental jobs dropped by approximately 400, according to Joe Winter, state labor economist. Winter said the shift was a normal fluctuation given graduations and the drop in academic-related employment.
A hundred new jobs in the natural resource and construction areas were created by companies contracted to help expand Xcel Energy's Comanche plant, said Winter.
He said the increase in private sector jobs mostly came in the lower-paying retail trade arena. That's a reflection of increased consumer retail activity during the summer months, which requires additional workers to serve them.
“It's everything from small mom-and-pop shops to very large big box stores,” Winter said. “The retail trade uptake is something that happens every summer.”
Looking back a year, Winter said the picture last month was brighter with approximately 1,500 more jobs compared to June 2005.
“That's solid job growth. The economy of Pueblo is bigger than it was last year. The labor force itself is expanding and the unemployment, while a little bit of a uptake from May is a half-percent lower than it was this time last year,” he said.
Winter said he expects future hiring for the Comanche Station construction project, the Pueblo Chemical Depot weapons destruction project and the construction of the GCC of America cement plant to have a strong positive impact on the entire Southern Colorado region.
Statewide, overall job growth has ebbed since January, reflecting the slowing national economy, said Rick Grice, executive director of the Colorado Labor Department.
The 4.5 percent growth in June reflected higher numbers of medical and education jobs that were offset by losses in tourism, government and the financial sector, state economists said Friday. In its monthly report, the state labor department said about 1,300 jobs were added last month, putting the nonagricultural work force at 2.3 million, up 2.2 percent from June 2005, based on seasonally adjusted figures.
Most of the jobs created in the past year have been in professional and business services, trade, transportation, utilities and construction, Grice said. The natural resources and mining sector has been the fastest growing of the 11 industry sectors, up 15.8 percent to 19,800 jobs since June 2005.
The educational and health services sector added 1,100 jobs while other industries reported gains from 100 jobs to 600 jobs, according to the seasonally adjusted figures.
Losses were felt in leisure and hospitality, government, financial activities and other services.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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