Roaring Fork Valley area added 935 jobs in 2012 |

Roaring Fork Valley area added 935 jobs in 2012

Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding region added about 935 jobs in 2012 as the area slowly continued to recover from the Great Recession.

The latest quarterly jobs report released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment shows that Eagle County added a significant number of jobs while Pitkin County added a more humble amount. Garfield County lost additional jobs in 2012, the report showed.

The report by the state Labor Department reflects employment figures through the fourth quarter of 2012. Construction activity appears to have picked up this spring, so future employment numbers could improve.

Pitkin County’s average employment increased 2 percent from 14,522 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 14,854 at the end of last year, the report showed. That is an increase of 332 jobs.

Eagle County’s economy showed the most growth from year-end 2011 to year-end 2012. Average employment increased by 718, or 2.6 percent, from 27,375 to 28,093, according to the state Labor Department’s report.

Garfield County’s economy is still losing ground. Average employment dropped from 24,219 to 24,104.

While Pitkin County added jobs in 2012, the employment level lags far behind pre-recession levels. In the fourth quarter of 2007, when Aspen’s economy was humming along, average employment was 18,726. In other words, Pitkin County has about 3,800, or 21 percent, fewer jobs now than it did before the recession.

The construction industry took a beating in the recession and still hasn’t recovered. There were 187 construction firms based in Pitkin County employing an average of 685 workers during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Labor Department report.

That is down by two firms and 71 workers from the fourth quarter of 2011. However, the loss is dramatic when compared with pre-recession levels. In the fourth quarter of 2007, there were 250 construction firms based in Pitkin County with 1,328 workers.

In Eagle County, there were 628 construction firms with an average employment of 2,658 in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s six fewer firms but 33 more workers compared with the end of 2011.

At the end of 2007, Eagle County had 875 construction firms employing 5,303 workers.

Garfield County lost 35 construction jobs but only 14 workers from the end of 2011 to the end of 2012, the Labor Department’s data showed. However, the industry is a shell of its old self during the boom days of oil and gas.

Garfield County had 498 construction firms and 2,887 workers at the end of 2012. Five years earlier, there were 703 establishments and 4,881 workers.

In Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties combined, the number of construction workers plummeted by 46 percent from the end of 2007 to the end of 2012. The construction industry employs 5,282 fewer people.

Employment in construction went from 11,512 in the three counties in 2007 to 6,230 at the end of last year, according to the Labor Department report.

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