Mesa County unemployment took a turn in the wrong direction from February to March with unemployment increasing while the state average decreased.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), the average statewide unemployment rate in March 2016 was 2.9% down one-tenth of a point from February.

During that same period Mesa County unemployment increased from 5.4% to 5.9%. That's still lower than March 2015 when the county's unemployment rate was at 6.4%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for March was up slightly to 5.0% meaning Mesa County lags behind not only the state, but also the national unemployment rate.

The CDLE report ranked the Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rate:

  • Huerfano  (7.3%)
  • Montezuma  (6.3%)
  • Mesa and Rio Blanco  (each 5.9%)
  • Costilla and Fremont  (each 5.7%)
  • Delta and San Juan  (each 5.6%)

The CDLE report indicates the largest month over month private sector job growth came from construction and leisure and hospitality.