Colorado economy

  • Man killed by train in Clifton 
  • Paonia Board of Trustees approves fee increases 
  • Colorado’s latest revenue forecast shows state still faces budget challenges
  • EPA discusses proposed methane rules at Denver meeting
  • State awards Lake City nonprofit $33K for river restoration project


  • Singer Joe Cocker Dies At 70 In Colorado
  • Delta School Districts Get 75K Scholarship Grant
  • Colorado's Economy Going Strong
  • Powderhorn Opens For The Season
  • Montrose Makerspace 

The state released its latest employment outlook Friday. 

Colorado’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.1 percent in July. That’s the lowest it's been since September 2008. It’s also a full percentage point below the nation’s unemployment rate that sits at 6.1 percent. 

However, Colorado did see a dip in nonfarm and private sector payroll jobs. That number decreased by 700 from July to August.

Joe Winter is a senior economist with the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment.

Jake Ryan

Over the weekend, Governor John Hickenlooper visited several businesses on the Western Slope.  In Delta County he toured business that received REDI grants.  The Rural Economic Development Initiative gives out grants to rural businesses that are looking to expand. 

New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, could cost as many as 500,000 jobs.

Unemployment, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining & Safety

The state's unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in June. It's below the national average of 6.1 percent. 

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said the last time the state's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent or lower was October 2008 when the rate was 5.3 percent. 

Nonfarm payroll jobs increased by over 3,000 from May to June to 2,446,800 jobs, according to the department. Colorado has seen 32 consecutive months of payroll job gains. 

Marty Durlin/KVNF

As the Affordable Care Act takes effect this year, Delta County Memorial Hospital Administrator Jason Cleckler is navigating uncertain terrain.

Could closing time change for your local watering hole? That's a statehouse proposal under consideration, allowing Colorado communities to decide whether to extend bar hours. Some feel a change to the law could do more harm than good.

Luke Runyon/KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business.

Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.

San Juan Huts Day 5 via Flickr (CC BY-SA)

Residents from Montrose County’s West End recently gathered for a screening of “Uranium Drive-In,” a documentary that tells the story of the ill-fated Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill, and a tight-knit community desperate for jobs and some hint of a brighter economy.

Doug Tucker

The first batch of Colorado's recreational marijuana stores opened this month on New Years Day in Telluride, Breckenridge and Denver among other places, marking the beginning of what's expected to be a multi-million dollar industry.


The first recreational marijuana shop west of Breckenridge along I-70 is now open for business in Carbondale.

KDNK's Ed Williams reports that long lines and high taxes are not deterring a steady stream of customers at the shop, called the Doctor's Garden.

Travis Bubenik/KVNF

For this episode of Local Motion, we take a look at the plight of rural movie theaters in Colorado. 

The film industry has by and large mandated that starting this year, first-run movies (the blockbusters like "Frozen") will only be distributed digitally. The 35 mm films of old are on their way out and digital films are on their way in. 


  • Silt Officials Apprehensive about Town's New Pot-Friendly Image
  • State of Colorado May Be Willing to work on Western Slope Economy
  • Roaring Fork Valley Students to use Cloud-Based Technologies
  • Profile on Meg Olenick, a Carbondale-Based Winter Athlete
  • Ridgway State Park to Parcitipate in New Years Day Hiking Event
  • Boulder Researchers Working on "Smart-Plow" Technology


  • Civil Suit Filed against GJ Airport Administration
  • Grand Mesa Plane Crash Victims Were Looking for Lost Cattle
  • Future of Pot Shops in Mountain Village Still Undecided
  • Ouray Residents to weigh in on City Administrator's Performance
  • Future of Mining & Drilling Uncertain Across Western Slope
  • State Economy Has Some Bright Clouds

There’s good news for Colorado’s economy going into 2014, the latest economic forecast is projecting solid growth. The state’s employment rate also continues to grow faster than the nation’s.


  • BLM Finds Temp Location for Gunnison Office after Fire
  • Experts Examine Cost of Natural Disasters
  • Forget the Golf Course, Developers Use Farming to Sell Suburban Homes
  • Grand Junction Airport Authority Members Looking into Fraud Allegations


  • CPW Researchers Conducting Backcountry Flyovers
  • Some Miners Near Ouray Helping with Accident Investigation
  • Future of Coal Uncertain as Tennessee Valley Authority Cuts Production
  • Three Colorado Cities Facing Lawsuits Over Fracking Bans
  • Historic Schoolhouse Spurred Modern Women's Club
KVNF File Photo

It’s been a rough season for the coal mines of the North Fork Valley. Last week, Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset laid off another 115 workers, bringing the total number of jobs cut at that mine this fall to over 250.

Theater projectors are going where most of the dazzling special effects in summer blockbusters have gone: All digital. In 2014, Hollywood will no longer release movies on traditional film stock. Theaters must convert or be forced to close – including those in rural Colorado.


  • Investigation Begins into Deaths of 2 Miners at Revenue-Virginus Mine
  • Enviromental Critics Say New Air Quality Moves are Purely Political
  • Industry Proponents Reserving Judgement on Air Quality Rules, For Now
  • Median Income in Delta County Ranks in Bottom Third of the State
  • Over 53,000 Coloradans Now Enrolled in New Health Exchange


  • 2 Dead, 20 Injured at Mine Accident in Ouray County
  • GJ High School Locked Down after Nearby Suicide
  • Tipton’s Water Rights Protection Bill To Get House Vote
  • Telluride Soda-Tax Campaigns Drew in over $148,000
  • Ban on Drone-Assisted Hunting Moves Forward
  • Future of Rural Movie Theaters Still Uncertain, Even with State Grants


  • Use of Drones for Hunting May Soon Be Illegal in Colorado
  • North Fork Coalition Presents Limited Drilling Plan to County Commissioners
  • FBI Fraud Investigation Could Threaten Grants for GJ Airport
  • Delta Municipal Power Plant Set to Close
  • Case Against Montrose City Councilor Moved to Mesa County
  • Job Growth Likely for Colorado in the Near-Term
  • CP&W Seeking Nominations for Landowner of the Year Award


  • William Hood Selected as next Colorado Supreme Court Justice
  • Western Colorado School Districts Continue to Debate Amendment 66
  • DMEA Board Members Take Complaints on Proposed Rate Increase
  • Resort Towns Reporting Growth in Summer Revenues
  • Pot Tourism Companies Plan to Cash In on Legalization
  • Marijuana Refugees Come To Colorado For Medical Relief

Recreational marijuana shops won’t open their doors in Colorado until January and already several pot tourism companies are making plans to cash in on the new businesses.

Major Layoffs at Oxbow Coal Mine

Oct 16, 2013
Elise Thatcher/Aspen Public Radio

Two weeks ago, the coal mine near Paonia owned by billionaire Bill Koch laid off more than half of its employees. The Koch owned Oxbow Mining company hopes to expand operations again in the future and rehire some of the workers.  In the meantime the layoffs are creating hardships for a number of communities.

“It’s very sad time around the mine, you know to lose your income and lose your job is real traumatic, so it’s very painful decision for us," says Mike Ludlow, the Executive Vice President of Oxbow’s mining operations.


  • Mesa County Sheriff and District Attorney Sound Off Against Proposed Budget Cuts
  • Opponents and Supporters of Telluride Soda Tax Step Up Campaigning Efforts
  • Elk Creek Mine Layoffs Likely to Hurt Local Economy
  • Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Petition Process for Amendment 66
  • Delta County Libraries Selected for Trial-Run of "Super Wifi" Technology
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940s, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.

The decline is the result of economic and cultural factors coming together. And it has left ranchers to wonder, “When are we going to hit the bottom?”

Doug Anderson via Flickr (CC BY)

Communities across Colorado are taking different tactics to the sale of recreational marijuana, which will officially begin in January. In Colorado’s high country, most resort towns support pot legalization and they don’t see it hurting the state's multi-billion dollar tourism business.

Last November, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 by a healthy margin. In resort towns such as Telluride, nearly 80 percent of voters said yes to legalization.

Travis Bubenik/KVNF

Members of Colorado US Senator Michael Bennet’s staff recently held a listening session in Paonia to gather community input on the 2013 Farm Bill.