Construction

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Colorado’s unemployment rate continues to be one of the lowest in the country. While that may be good news to job seekers, some employers in the state are finding it more and more difficult to secure workers, especially for seasonal jobs.

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At a recent job fair for prospective electricians in Northglenn, Colorado, one skilled out-of-state worker named Eduardo Havier was looking for a job.

“I’m from Puerto Rico, but I currently live in Louisiana. I came all the way here just to see what you guys had going on.”

Havier flew out from Louisiana for the day, just to attend the job fair. He’s 23 years old, and already has a degree in electrical engineering technology from a community college, but he can’t find employment where he lives.

“I spent so many years and effort trying to pass my classes, I want to work in the field I went to school for. The real situation is if you don’t know anybody at the workplace, you don’t get a job.”

University of Colorado, Boulder Leeds School of Business

Richard Wobbekind has seen decades of change in Colorado, from huge population booms to agricultural busts. As lead economist on the annual Leeds School of Business economic forecast, he and his team pour over data and statistical models to try and suss out how the state’s economy may change in the New Year.

The comprehensive report covers everything from housing costs to molybdenum mining (Colorado is the top producer in the country), but here is what you need to know for 2017.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It’s about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by six-foot stalks of corn.

The barn’s exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing and there’s a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It’s about 100 years old and it’s not really useful.

“It’s deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it,” Gerdes says. “And it doesn’t fit into the modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits and it’s just obsolete.”

F Delventhal / Creative Commons/Flickr

Colorado capped off 2015 with solid job gains and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The state added 10,700 jobs in December, finishing the year with a historically low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

"The last time we had an unemployment rate lower than that was in May of 2001, when it was 3.3 percent," said Alexandra Hall, Chief Economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Colorado Department of Transportation

The main thoroughfare of Fort Collins  - College Avenue, or U.S. Highway 287 if you’re feeling official - will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 for asphalt repaving. The closed stretch will extend between Mulberry and Laurel, and will include the west leg of both Myrtle and Laurel at College Avenue.

Fort Collins hasn’t been a stranger to road work and diversions lately, but once the work is done, College Ave. will be “a very nice stretch of road” said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Jared Fiel.

Maeve Conran / KGNU

As cities in Colorado expand to accommodate a growing population, so are costs of providing services and utilities. Some communities, like Aurora, a city of 350,000 east of Denver, are reevaluating how they charge for services like water and how those costs might encourage smarter growth.

A decade ago, plans were drawn up for a huge Veterans Affairs hospital near Denver intended to replace old and crowded facilities for nearly 400,000 vets in Colorado and neighboring states.

The original budget was $328 million, but that was totally unrealistic, the VA now acknowledges. So how much did it finally cost?

Grace Hood / KUNC

Hotel construction across the U.S. has been on a tear in 2014. The number of rooms being built is up almost 50 percent compared to the previous year. In Colorado, the demand is partially fueled by the oil and gas boom along the state's eastern plains. But if history is any guide a bust usually follows a boom.

So how long can the building go on? What are developers doing to prepare for that change?

CDOT / Flickr - used with permission

Two major construction projects along I-25 in the Denver area will cause traffic headaches August 8 to August 11, but they’re intended to ease backups in the long run.

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