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Unemployment shows improvement

A report released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) provided good news for Archuleta County, showing that 2011 finished slightly better than the 2010 year average.

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) having revised the county’s unemployment numbers for November downwards — from 9 to 8.7 percent — 2011 finished with an average of 10.1 percent unemployment, slightly better compared to 2010’s year-end average of 10.2 percent.

Tuesday’s report shows preliminary numbers for last month’s unemployment rate to be at 9.5 percent, significantly up from November (all unemployment numbers from the CDLE and BLS are not seasonally adjusted).

However, Archuleta County has nearly always shown a significant jump in unemployment numbers from November to December, rising sharply in 30 out of the 36 years since 1976 (when the BLS first started compiling accurate unemployment records for the county).

Over 36 years, unemployment has risen by an average of 1.2 percent from November to December. In 2011, that increase was .8 percent.

Tuesday’s CDLE report also showed December’s unemployment rate almost a full percentage point better than the same month last year, down from the December 2010 rate of 10.4 percent.

Several reports published in The SUN over the past few months have indicated that unemployment has been trending in a positive direction during the last half of this year. In fact, during the last few months of 2010 and the first half of 2011, unemployment numbers, with few exceptions, showed most rates to be the worst in 24 years. However, that trend began showing a slight turn around in July, when unemployment numbers began improving over the same months during the previous year.

With the first half of 2011 showing unemployment rates in double digits and on track to make last year’s unemployment rate outpace the 2010 rate, the trend reversal that started last July has indicated that the jobs situation in Archuleta County is improving.

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