DENVER — The slowest economic recovery since World War II is going especially slow for sections of Colorado, according to a letter from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) obtained by The Colorado Observer.
In seven counties in Colorado unemployed individuals are close to or exceeding 20% of the population, a letter from the Chief Economist of CDLE to the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.
The letter, obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act, was sent August 29 as required by federal law. According to the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, the Colorado Labor Department is required to certify counties where the “Not Employed Rate” surpasses 19.5%.
The “Not Employed Rate” is defined as “the percentage of individuals over the age of 18 who reside within the community and who are ready, willing and able to be employed but are unable to find employment as determined by the State Department of Labor.”
Ranking highest was Costilla County at 23.56 percent. The list runs from larger counties like Pueblo (20.09%), Montrose (20.62%) and Fremont (19.66%) to smaller populations like Huerfano (21.78%), Archuleta (19.97%) and Dolores (19.85%).
Whereas the unemployment rate doesn’t include people who are out of work, but have given up looking for a job, the “Not Employed Rate” gives a fuller picture of the dire economic situation many Coloradans are currently facing.
Colorado has faced one of the slowest economic recoveries in the nation coming out of the recession.
Last month, Colorado’s official unemployment rate — 8.2% — surpassed the national unemployment rate for first time in nearly 7 years. While unemployment fell from 8.3% the previous month, Colorado’s unemployment rate rose for four consecutive months prior to that.