Colorado employers say there’s still a labor shortage even as more jobs are filled |

Colorado employers say there’s still a labor shortage even as more jobs are filled

As job postings decline, it’s back to work for many, but are there just too many jobs out there?

Tamara Chuang
The Colorado Sun
Help wanted signs posted on businesses along Main Street, November 2018 in Breckenridge.
Summit Daily file photo

COLORADO — Colorado employers may be facing some of the highest inflation in decades, not to mention talk of recession (no, one hasn’t been officially announced). But one thing that may be finally easing up is attracting enough workers.

It’s still bad, just not as bad as it was a year ago, said Curtis Englehart, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, a job he started this week. He previously led the Mesa County Workforce Center and helped employers and workers connect throughout the pandemic. 

“We’re still seeing a healthy amount of job openings coming into Mesa County. However, it has leveled off tremendously from 2021,” Englehart said. “What I believe is happening now is really twofold: One is you can’t keep up with that high demand of jobs coming in that frequently. And two, I feel like those jobs are actually starting to get filled. I’m not saying that there still isn’t a labor shortage out there. There definitely is and it’s still really hard to find employees. However, 2021 was an extremely difficult and unprecedented year when it came to finding employees.”

The number of job openings is in decline, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data. And the nation added more than a half-million payroll jobs in July, which lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 3.5%. But for every one of the estimated 111,800 unemployed Coloradans in June, there were nearly two jobs available.

As mentioned in previous columns, there remains a disconnect between employers and workers. One employer, who’s still hiring, bemoaned salary demands as “exceeding what we can afford,” which was shared in the latest What’s Working employer survey. Another employer said he’s finally filled a job that was open for seven months, which helped ease his existing maintenance crew’s workload.


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