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A major outdoor apparel company is moving its global headquarters to Colorado. The move comes amid the growing economic and political power of the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry in our region.

Utah and Idaho were the leading states for employment growth over the past year, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also in the top five were Nevada and Colorado.

alizz islamic bank / Flickr

Colorado has one of the best employment markets in the country. By 2020 more than 70 percent of those jobs will require some type of advanced degree. But right now, there are not enough qualified workers to fill those positions – only 56 percent of residents have postsecondary education.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Over the years, Edward Victor Dick has seen a lot of highs and lows in the guitar market.

“You know, in the mid-’80s we thought acoustic instruments were going to be complete dinosaurs because people were playing electric instruments and samplers,” said Dick, the owner of Denver’s Victor Guitar. “Then Eric Clapton came out with his ‘Unplugged’ album.

“After 9/11, it was kind of a bit of a strange experience because business just dropped like a stone,” Dick added. “And we all thought the world was gonna end.”

IECRM

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.”

Anna Hunt / KUNC

Firefighting and EMS careers are historically male-dominated. But one group of women hopes to change that.

Aims Community College held  their first Young Women Xplore Academy, a workshop designed to introduce young women to the fire service and EMS career paths.

Wyoming Wants Wind Energy Factory Jobs. Colorado Has Them

Jul 26, 2016
Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Wyoming has lost hundreds of coal mining jobs in 2016. In contrast to coal, the renewables industry is growing nationwide. Generation capacity is projected to jump more than 50 percent by 2040, even in the absence of new environmental regulations. With that growth, there's a need for more components like blades and towers to build wind farms.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead's long-term energy strategy for the state includes plans to attract this kind of manufacturing. You only have to look to the state's neighbor to the south, Colorado, to find those kind of production jobs.

courtesy Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Halfway through the year, Colorado employment is holding steady.

According to state labor officials, Colorado added 5,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent.

"That recent increase is mainly due to people being drawn back into the labor force due to Colorado’s relatively healthy job growth," said Ryan Gedney, an economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Colorado Wind Energy Gets A Burst Of Good News

Apr 12, 2016
Courtesy of NCAR/UCAR

Unlike fossil fuels, wind energy is booming.

Xcel Energy has announced a proposal with Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems to build a 300 turbine project in eastern Colorado. It would be the state's largest wind farm. The utility isn't releasing further information until the project is formally filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Even without firm details on the project, the wind industry is clearly growing.

Jim Hill / KUNC

Colorado employment is off to a strong start in 2016. The state added 5,200 payroll jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dipped to 3.2 percent.

"It was 15 years ago that we saw unemployment numbers this low," said Alexandra Hall, Chief Economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

While those numbers are encouraging, economists are concerned about the impact of sustained low oil prices on jobs in the oil and gas industry.

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