Colorado Springs employers could attract a roomful of applicants a few years ago for many job openings.
Today, they are lucky to get more than a handful of applicants for most jobs and many openings go unfilled for weeks or sometimes months in a job market with the area’s unemployment rate near a 50-year low.
The Colorado Springs area’s unemployment rate has dropped by more than half from 5.1 percent at the beginning of 2015 to 2.5 percent in April, the lowest monthly rate in Bureau of Labor Statistics records that start in 1990 and lower than any rate in records dating to 1970, though the rate was calculated differently before 1990.
The fewer than 8,500 people looking for work in April was the fewest since 2001, even as the area’s job market has added more than 50,000 workers in the past 16 years. The jobless rate and number of unemployed rose in May as more people returned to the job market.
Republicans have been sounding the alarm over Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision to sign Colorado on to the U.S. Climate Alliance, saying his executive order lacked collaboration, could hurt the state and might even be challenged in court.
“The governor’s failure to proceed in an open, collaborative, bipartisan way means this policy never will have the stamp of public legitimacy it needs,” state Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, said in a written statement. “This unilateral action seems out of character for a governor whose overall successes stem from his willingness to take centrist positions, follow common sense, and work collaboratively with all parties.”
Americans for Prosperity in Colorado said Hickenlooper “seems to be sheepishly trying to order the results that he wants without any negative impact.”
Hundreds of job seekers attended a Cannabis Career Fair in Denver on Sunday. Organizers said there were a wide variety of jobs available at dozens of companies.
The event at Mile High Station was part of an effort to increase diversity in the industry.
Officials with Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) and Servicios de La Raza said the idea is to “bridge the gap between underrepresented communities that may not be networked in to traditional cannabis recruitment channels and employment opportunities.”
“Our partnership with MIG works to break down barriers of discrimination and lack of access, and this career fair collaboration is another example of that. We want people in our community to know that there are legal jobs in a regulated industry that are available,” Rudy Gonzales, Executive director of Servicios de La Raza said in a statement issued to the media. “Cannabis businesses offer meaningful employment at living wages, and that’s what we look for when we want to break the cycle of poverty.”