The Pueblo area’s unemployment rate fell to a near record low of 3.5 percent in May.
The rate is a tick higher than the area’s modern-era low of 3.4 percent, set 18 years ago in May 2000, according to preliminary employment estimates released Friday by the state Department of Labor. The state’s current record keeping began in 1990.
The drop comes as Colorado and the nation also report the lowest jobless rates in decades.
The U.S. jobless rate fell to 3.8 percent last month.
Colorado’s rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 2.8 percent in May.
The state’s job market remained among the hottest in the nation with a solid 7,700 nonfarm payroll jobs added in May, the third time in four months for larger-than-usual job growth. The Fort Collins-Loveland area reported the state’s lowest jobless rate at 2 percent.
Pueblo’s primary job creation efforts also are finding success. Primary job employers bring so-called “new money” into a community by producing goods and services to sell to customers from outside of the area.
Last week, Midwest produce distributor and processor Russ Davis Wholesale announced plans to open a Pueblo plant and hire 163 or more workers starting in the fall.
Andy Gamble, chief executive of Minnesota-based Russ Davis Wholesale, said the company chose Pueblo for its expansion West in part for the available labor force and after passing on Denver metro area due to its crowded and costly real estate market.
At the same event, Pueblo Economic Development Corp. leaders said they expect more unspecified primary job announcements in coming months. PEDCO President Jeff Shaw has described interest in Pueblo among prospective employers as the strongest in years.