County bucked trend, grew labor force in `02 |

County bucked trend, grew labor force in `02

Staff Report

The labor force in Garfield County grew by 5.5 percent between 2001 and 2002, from 24,405 to 25,743 workers, according to “Trends,” a quarterly newsletter published by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Among neighboring counties, Garfield stood out as the only county to experience a work force increase.

During the same period, the work force in Eagle County decreased 2.4 percent, from 19,546 to 19,073. Pitkin County’s work force also diminished 1.6 percent, from 8,674 to 8,538.

Statewide, the work force grew 3.9 percent in 2002 over the previous year.

Unemployment in Garfield County was up sharply in January, February and March 2002. It rose to more than 5 percent in January, 5 percent in February and just under 5 percent in March 2002.

By comparison, unemployment ranged from a little over 3 percent in February 2001 to about 2.5 percent in April 2001.

While unemployment fell in spring 2002, another spike occurred in July 2002, when it rose back to 4 percent. By comparison, unemployment in July 2001 was less than 2 percent.

Unemployment fell to less than 2.5 percent in August, September and October 2002.

Garfield County saw wage and salaried jobs grow a slim 0.3 percent in 2002, from 18,705 to 18,760.

The average weekly wage for workers increased 6 percent, from $564 in the first quarter of 2001 to $598 in the first quarter of 2002.

In both Eagle and Pitkin counties, wage and salaried jobs fell in 2002 from the previous year.

Eagle County posted a 4.3 percent decrease and Pitkin County a 5.6 percent decrease.

In both counties, the average weekly wage increased from the first quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2002 at a more modest rate than in Garfield County. In Eagle, the wage grew 2.7 percent from $563 to $578. Pitkin had a 1.2 percent increase, from $643 to $651.

Statewide the average weekly wage decreased 1.8 percent during the same period.

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