Why Colorado's low unemployment rate is a double-edged sword

The holiday shopping season is practically here, but employers are having a tough time filling temporary positions this year. Colorado has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country -- giving job seekers the pick of positions and companies scramb

KUSA - The holiday shopping season is nearly here and employers are having a tough time filling temporary positions.

Colorado has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country, giving job seekers the pick of positions and companies scrambling to fill open spots. In the seven-county metro Denver region, the unemployment rate averages 2 to 2 and a half percent.

Development Research Partners chief economist Patty Silverstein said the low unemployment rate is great for job seekers and a big challenge for employers.

"The size of the workforce is finite that we can draw people from. So it's a matter of finding the people that are willing to accept your job offer,” she said.

For the soon to be re-opened Colorado Mills Mall, there are about 1,000 jobs that need employees. Companies at Tuesday's job fair in Jefferson County are doing what they can to make their positions more attractive.

Colorado's minimum wage is $9.30 an hour, but many stores are offering $11 and more. Some businesses are increasing employee discounts, offering hiring bonuses and flexible hours.

"I think the job opportunities are getting out there a lot more than they were four or five years ago,” said job seeker Pat Searcy.

It’s a much different scenario from the Great Recession.

"It's the flipside of the coin where we saw the hundreds of job seekers lined up for a single position, now you see the hundreds of employers lined up for that single candidate,” said Jill Howard with the Jefferson County Business and Workforce Center.

In the age of online applications, employers are going back to the tried and true: help wanted signs along with the word of mouth.

"Posting on social media, talking with our friends and family and really getting the word out there,” said Tim Fuller, employer with Guess Jeans.

Silverstein said shoppers should prepare for longer wait times and longer checkout lines this holiday season.

“I think it means you're going to have to be a little more patient,” she said.

The Colorado Mills Mall opens in November. For mall job postings, click here

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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