County’s average weekly salary hits $643 |

County’s average weekly salary hits $643

Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

The average weekly salary in Garfield County rose to $643 according to Colorado’s most recent economic report, but still trails the state average, which is $769.Other key economic indicators include:-The number of construction jobs in Garfield County dropped 11 percent in 2002 from 2001.-The county’s unemployment rate is holding steady at 5.5 percent.-Federal, state and local government employ the most people in Garfield County and added 240 jobs in 2002, for a total of 3,670 positions.Those figures are included in the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s quarterly issue of “Changing Trends,” a compilation of statistics about wages, unemployment, population, real estate sales, sales tax collections and accommodation tax receipts. The construction industry is Garfield County’s second largest employer, the report says. Chamber director Marianne Virgili said the drop in well-paying construction jobs is significant.”It’s something to be concerned about,” Virgili said.The drop translates to 390 jobs. Virgili said it’s hard for local governments to stimulate new construction.”They probably need to look at incentives, or reducing their impact fees,” Virgili said. “But it’s up to the local communities to decide.”Unemployment for the fourth quarter of 2002 was 5.5 percent, compared to 5.3 percent during the same time in 2001. Those figures compare to a 3.9 percent unemployment rate for all of 2001. Virgili said the increase might be attributed to construction jobs lost when second-home building slowed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.Aspen and Pitkin County are still the place to go for higher paying jobs. The average weekly salary the last quarter of 2002 was $761 in Pitkin County, up 3.5 percent over the same period in 2001. In Garfield County, the average weekly salary rose 1.1 percent to $643 in the fourth quarter of 2002, up from $636 in the same time period in 2001.For all of 2001 compared to all of 2002, the total number of jobs in Garfield County dropped from 19,865 to 19,830, for a 0.2 percent drop. Sectors with job losses included real estate and leasing with a 4.1 percent drop, and administrative and waste services with a 5.2 percent drop. The health care and social assistance category increased 5.3 percent.Garfield County’s population increased from 46,173 in 2001 to 47,447 in 2002, for a 2.8 percent increase.Pitkin County’s population increased from 16,197 in 2001 to 16,301 in 2002, for a 0.6 percent increase.The population breakdown for Garfield County towns for 2002 compared to 2001 are as follows:-Glenwood Springs – 8,323, up 2.3 percent over 2001.-Carbondale – 5,580, up 1.3 percent.-New Castle – 2,488, up 9.7 percent.-Silt – 2,045, up 7.6 percent.-Rifle – 7,369, up 4.1 percent-Parachute – 1,301, up 2.5 percent.-Unincorporated Garfield County – 20,341, up 1.6 percent.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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