The Aspen-area work force grew and unemployment dropped this summer compared with the summer of 2012, according to statistics released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
The data confirm the belief of many people that Pitkin County’s economy slowly continues to improve from the recession that hit in late 2008.
The unemployment rate for each of the months of June, July and August was lower this year when compared with 2012, the Labor Department’s records show. Meanwhile, the labor force has increased by a few hundred workers.
In August, Pitkin County had a work force of 11,058, according to the Labor Department. There were 10,440 people employed and 618 unemployed for an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent.
In August 2012, the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent. The labor force was 10,843. That is 215 fewer workers than a year later or about 2 percent less. There were 10,126 people employed and 717 unemployed in August last year.
The August 2013 statistics are the latest available from the Labor Department.
To put the current size of the work force in perspective, the pre-recession number in August 2008 was 11,793 workers. That’s about 6 percent more than now.
The labor force for August bottomed out in 2010 and stayed flat in Pitkin County in 2011 and 2012 at about 10,850 workers.
The drop in the unemployment rate is a trend that developed in June and July. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in June 2012 to 7.2 percent for the month this year.
Likewise, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.8 percent in July 2012 to 5.8 percent for the month this year.
The work force showed modest growth in both June and July. There were 10,793 workers in Pitkin County in June 2012. That nudged up to 10,861 in June 2013.
In the heart of summer in July, the Pitkin County work force increased from 10,904 last year to 11,258 in July 2013. That is an increase of 354 workers or 3 percent.