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Garfield County hard at work

Garfield County’s workforce demographics showed strong numbers for 2018, as the county’s total number of jobs has grown by 1,681 over the last five years, according to number presented to the county commissioners this week.

Over the next five years, Garfield County jobs are projected to grow by another 2,135, according to the report based on data from the Colorado Demographer’s Office and other sources.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, who sits on the state’s workforce advisory board, noted a few trends and highlights from the report during the Feb. 4 commissioners meeting. He highlighted the county’s stable employment numbers.

“Our labor force has 33,135 people and 29,500 jobs … which basically means we are fully employed in Garfield County,” Jankovsky explained.

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All but 900 members of the active labor force were employed in 2018, for a 3.3 percent unemployment rate, according to the report. About 30 percent of the county’s working-age population is not in the labor force, though the reasons are not specified in the report.

He noted that the county’s median household income, $61,300, was more than the state average. However, the county’s average annual wage ($47,112) was below the state average.

Jankovsky felt this shows that the average Garfield County household has multiple adults in the labor force, as the county’s cost of living was shown to exceed the state average.

The numbers also showed Garfield County has significantly more outbound commuters than inbound in the labor force, with over 6,500 people traveling outside the county for work.

With 4,098 outbound workers from Garfield County every day, Pitkin County is by far the top destination for work. Only 457 inbound workers commute from Pitkin to Garfield County every day.

Despite a higher annual wage than Garfield County, Eagle County commuters show a similar trend with 3,229 Eagle County residents commuting to Pitkin County every day, compared to just 279 inbound workers coming from Pitkin to Eagle County for jobs.

The Eagle County numbers show 1,005 workers coming to Garfield County for jobs, while 1,459 Garfield workers head to jobs in Eagle County.

azorn@citizentelegram.com


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