State’s jobless rate increases to 6.1 percent |

State’s jobless rate increases to 6.1 percent

James Paton
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado likely joined the nation in a recession late last year as its unemployment rate rose above 6 percent and its economy weakened, the state’s labor department reports.

A number of companies in Colorado, including National Hirschfeld, Vail Resorts, Level 3 Communications, Sun Microsystems and Janus Capital, have trimmed their payrolls in recent months.

Colorado’s jobless rate increased to 6.1 percent in the final month of 2008 from 5.8 percent in November and 4.0 percent in December 2007.

The state has not struggled as much as the rest of the U.S. The national jobless rate increased to 7.2 percent in December, while the unemployment rate in some states has climbed to more than 9 percent or even 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

But Colorado’s economy has succumbed to the economic pressures hurting most of the country, and the number of people across the state unsuccessfully searching for work has surged to almost 168,000.

“Although we have weathered the myriad of economic woes afflicting the nation better than most states, mounting evidence suggests that Colorado entered recession in the last quarter of 2008,” Donald Mares, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, said in a statement.

Colorado’s unemployment rate is at the highest level in more than five years, and regional economists expect it to continue rising in the coming months.

Unlike most states, Colorado in recent months had continued to add jobs compared with levels seen in the prior year, but that now has changed. Since December 2007, non-farm jobs fell by 16,200, or 0.7 percent.

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