Although there is hope that Lake County will reach a point where more workers will be able to find jobs close to home, the latest quarterly newsletter from the Colorado Workforce Center indicates that almost 70% of local workers are still traveling to another county to work. On the bright side, this is a gradual improvement over recent years, when up to 80% worked outside Lake County.
Those who do so generally find jobs in the resort communities to the north in Summit and Eagle counties. Food service, retail and housekeeping occupations are the areas in which many are employed.
Inbound workers to Lake County are employed primarily in the trades or mining occupations, the report said.
Although Lake County provides a lower cost of living than adjacent counties, workers must balance the lower cost of living here with long commutes.
The cost of living in Lake County is 108.0 times the average cost of living in the state. This compares to 121.8 for Eagle and 120.0 for Summit counties.
More than 61% of workers have a one-way commute over 25 miles, and 32.4% of workers have a commute over 50 miles one way. Although Eagle and Summit counties are the primary destination of Lake County commuters, a number of residents work in the Denver and Colorado Springs metro areas.
The majority of Lake County outbound workers are employed in Vail, Denver, Copper Mountain, Avon, Breckenridge and Frisco. Lake County residents account for 3.1% of Eagle County’s inbound workers and 4.7% of Summit County’s inbound workers. This represents the third and fourth largest source of inbound workers for those counties, respectively.
The city of Leadville remains the largest job center in Lake County, with around 614 resident workers or 61.5% of the city’s workforce. Eagle and Summit counties provide employment for 41% of the city’s workforce.
Current labor-force figures for all of Lake County show 1,843 for the second quarter of 2019 compared with 1,977 for the first quarter of 2019.
The Colorado Workforce Center said that the Lake County labor market has remained relatively stable for the past four years.
In November 2019, statistics showed 104 people unemployed. There were 75 job postings in the same month.
The data show a loss of seven businesses in 2019 up to the reporting date, including the loss of one business in the first quarter of the year.