Local unemployment bump may not be a lasting trend

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The Department of Labor shows Colorado's unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 percent, but here in Mesa County, unemployment saw a slight increase from 8.1 percent to 8.3 percent.

However a recent rise in home development this year both nationally and locally has some hoping increased unemployment will not be a lasting trend.

According to the Census Bureau, home building is at a four-year high, and one local developer said his company is following suit.

"2012 has been our best year so far since 2008," said Jeffery Fleming of Davidson Homes.

Development for Davidson Homes is up 20 to 25 percent since 2011.

Mesa County Workforce Business Services Director Suzie Miller said while more people filed for unemployment in October, the employment rate in Mesa County is still higher this year from last.

"On the positive side, we are still seeing a lot of job orders come in, and we have actually listed more jobs than any year since 2008," said Miller.

Miller said that the November numbers are hard to predict, because as jobs are created, many are also laid off, and we may not see the effects of new businesses coming into town until the first of the year.

"Companies that have come into town may not impact the employment numbers for a few months. For example Sprouts is hiring 90 to 100 people," said Miller.

Officials at the Mesa County Workforce Center see the potential for new jobs from various sectors and hope this is just one bad month in an otherwise recovering local economy.

According to a recent report from the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, construction permits are up 33 percent from last year, and this is due to a substantial increase in residential permits.

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