Jobs

As President Obama promised, a new rule would make 5 million more Americans eligible for overtime pay.

Many workers say it's a welcome change. But businesses say employees could see negative, unintended consequences.

Barrett Zenger has managed a music store in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the past seven years, where he oversees two dozen employees, stocks inventory and fills in for sales clerks who call in sick.

  Newscast

  • Safety Tips For Rafting Colorado Waterways
  • City And County Leaders From Across Colorado Meet In Breckenridge
  • Mesa County Regional Workforce Center Changes Status
  • Grand Junction Joins National High­-Speed Internet Effort
  • Black Canyon Astronomy Festival Kicks Off
going out of business sign, economy
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A bipartisan bill introduced in the state legislature this week looks to give struggling Colorado communities a jump-start. 

Senate Bill 282 would create ‘tax-friendly zones’ in up to 30 highly distressed counties across the state. 

"We are talking about areas that have the highest unemployment and lowest wages," said bill sponsor House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver. 

  Newscast

  • City of Montrose considers leaving county dispatch
  • Fatality in I-70 crash identified
  • Job numbers show Western Slope still struggling
  • Bill may expand farm to school program
  • 4/20 brings boom for new DeBeque pot shop
  • Legislature considers butane hash oil ban 

Economists usually worry about a "wage-price spiral" taking hold. That's when workers are earning more, but losing buying power as prices rise.

For now, at least, something very rare is happening: Paychecks and prices are heading in opposite directions.

"You have a schism that's helpful to consumers," IHS economist Doug Handler said about the recent decline in prices and rise in wages.

*We used data from the Census Bureau, which has two catch-all categories: "managers not elsewhere classified" and "salespersons not elsewhere classified." Because those categories are broad and vague to the point of meaninglessness, we excluded them from our map.

What's with all the truck drivers? Truck drivers dominate the map for a few reasons.

  • Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can't drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can't drive cars (yet).

Job growth has been strong and steady over the past year. Wages, not so much: Average pay for U.S. workers barely kept up with inflation. But there was a fair bit of variation across different sectors. Here's a look. (In the graph, the size of the circle indicates the total number of jobs in each sector.)

University of Colorado Boulder

There’s a recent study out of University of Colorado Boulder. 

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. 

construction
flickr.com/kylemay

Colorado's economy is doing better.

Numbers released Monday show the state's unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in July. The last time it was this low was Oct. 2008. 

The national unemployment rate for June was 6.2 percent. 

In Colorado nonfarm payroll jobs increased 5,500. Private sector jobs increased 6,000 while government jobs decreased 500. The state has had 33 consecutive months of payroll job gains.

Abel Tapia
Laura Palmisano

Democrat Abel Tapia is challenging Republican Congressman Scott Tipton for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District seat. The 3rd District covers most of Western Colorado. Tapia campaigned in the North Fork Valley Friday evening. KVNF's Laura Palmisano interviewed Tapia at a voter meet-and-greet in Paonia.

Interview Transcript 

PALMISANO: The Western Slope is typically very red. What do you think your chances are running against a Republican in this district?

There are countless ways to make a living in America, and for many people, typing at a desk or working retail just isn't the right fit. All summer, NPR has been meeting young people who have landed jobs with some wacky job descriptions.


The Aquatic Mailman

Leaping from boat to mailbox in a single bound

More Layoffs As Coal Mine All But Shuttered

Dec 3, 2013
Elise Thatcher/Aspen Public Radio

More coal miners in the North Fork Valley are being laid off. Oxbow Mining company, owned by billionaire Bill Koch, laid off more than a hundred more employees on Monday at its Elk Creek mine.

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.