4th Quarter 2014 Economic Forecast Newsletter – Moffat & Routt Counties

  • Unemployment rates in the Yampa Valley this fall have reached a seven-year low, portending good news for job-seekers but a shortage of workers for employers, particularly in Routt County.
  • The Yampa Valley’s unemployment rate continues to improve, a five-year trend that is expected to hold through the first quarter of 2015. The combined county unemployment rate in September was 3.3%, with Moffat County’s rate at 3.8% and Routt’s at 3.0%. However, Routt County’s lack of available workers now clearly points toward a labor shortage this quarter and next.
  • Routt County has continued to post strong retail sales. Latest available Colorado Department of Revenue information on local retail sales shows that year-to-date sales through the first third of 2014 were up nearly 5% in Routt County. Those figures also showed a dip of about 11% in Moffat County compared to the same portion of the previous year.
  • The Moffat housing market overall has been stable recently, with lower than average foreclosures and consistency in prices and the number of homes for sale for a typical September. The Routt housing market experienced an improvement with an increase in list prices, rise in sale prices, low foreclosure rate in September and fewer homes for sale in October compared to previous years.
  • Coal production over the first half of the year was up from 2013 figures in both counties. Based on the latest data available, year-to-date coal production through June was up nearly 9% in Moffat County and 17% in Routt County, despite a statewide production decline of 2%. Year-to-date oil production through August was down by just under one-third in Moffat County and one-quarter in Routt County from the previous year. Moffat year-to-date gas production was down nearly 17%, while Routt’s relatively small amount of gas production was up by 17% compared to 2013.

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