SAN LUIS VALLEY – On May 4, 2020, Governor Polis announced his Safer at Home policy which allowed some businesses to reopen with certain guidelines. The program has seemed to work, as statewide the unemployment rate dropped from 12.0 percent in April to 10.0 percent in May.
Nationwide the unemployment rate for May was 13.3 percent.
For the counties in the San Luis Valley (SLV), the Colorado Department of Labor and Unemployment (CDLU) recently released May 2020 unemployment figures which showed that the San Luis Valley also showed substantial improvement in employment numbers as the SLV unemployment rate dropped from 9.9 percent in April 2020 to 7.6 percent in May. Rural Colorado counties continue to fare better than more urban and resort counties.
Mineral County has the highest not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the SLV with 9.8 percent. The SLV county with the lowest unemployment rate in May 2020 was again Saguache with 6.3 percent unemployed. Saguache county is followed by Conejos county which dropped from 8.3 percent to 6.4 percent. Alamosa county dropped from 9.4 percent to 7.6 percent and Rio Grande County saw the largest improvement in unemployment numbers dropping from 10.7 to 8.4 percent. Costilla county saw a slight increase in those unemployed increasing from 8.0 to 8.3 percent.
Not seasonally adjusted employment numbers from the CDLU show that the total employed workforce for the San Luis Valley in May 2020 was 20,831, with 1,600 unemployed, equaling 7.6 percent of the SLV workforce being unemployed in May.
In Colorado, Cheyenne county had the lowest unemployment rate in May with 2.1 percent followed by Kiowa county with 2.2 percent, Baca at 2.3 percent and Yuma with 2.7 percent unemployed.
The Colorado counties with the highest rates of unemployment were San Miguel at 22.1 percent, Gilpin with 21.3 percent, Pitkin at 20.0 percent and Summit at 19.4 percent.