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How Meaningful Is Colorado’s Declining Unemployment Rate?

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It seems a small measure, but, as the Denver Business Journal writes, the one-half percentage point decline in Colorado’s unemployment rate—to 7.3 percent—is “some of the best news” about jobs since the recession began. Even in the hard-hit Grand Junction area, unemployment was down from 9.1 percent in July to 8.7 percent in August, reports the Sentinel. Still, that’s a train wreck compared with a year ago, when the state unemployment rate was 4.9 percent.

Today, there are 110,000 fewer jobs across the state than a year ago and roughly 107,000 people are collecting unemployment checks, according to The Denver Post. What’s scary at the moment is that roughly 16,000 people will exhaust their benefits between now and the end of the year. Raymond Rapisand is one of them. The 59-year-old salesman collected his last check a week and a half ago as he continues to search for a job and relies on $6,000 in savings.

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Though unemployment benefits in Colorado have been extended three times, Governor Bill Ritter’s efforts to secure a fourth extension for Coloradans might be unsuccessful due to the slight improvement in the state’s unemployment rate. Other states, it turns out, are faring much worse, and Congress could choose to pour resources into those places instead.

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