Local business leaders discuss economic forecast at summit | SteamboatToday.com

Local business leaders discuss economic forecast at summit

Yampa Valley Data Partners Executive Director Keith Kramer discusses local economic trends on Friday at the 2015 Economic Summit at Colorado Mountain College.
Scott Franz

— When Yampa Valley Data Partners Executive Director Keith Kramer asked an audience of local business owners Friday who was having a hard time finding employees to hire, several hands shot up.

Currently, the local unemployment rate in Routt County remains very low, and Kramer told the audience at the 2015 Economic Summit that a labor shortage is likely to continue to be a challenge for local employers.

Last winter was already tough for local employers.

The Steamboat Ski Area increased its roster of internationally recruited employees.

Local restauranteur Rex Brice introduced a season ski pass to his benefits package as an incentive to attract more workers.

And now, hiring banners at retail businesses on Lincoln Avenue have gotten bigger.

Already, there are signs this winter could again be a challenge.

The Great Clips at Central Park Plaza is open for more limited hours, citing a staff shortage.

A very tight rental market will also make it more difficult to accommodate an expanding workforce.

A look at the local labor force was one of several topics discussed Friday at the Economic Summit at Colorado Mountain College.

Attendees learned the overall economic forecast for the area is good, and visitor bookings for the upcoming ski season are trending up at mountain resorts in the west.

But there were three big areas of concern.

They included a recent loss of coal jobs, the tightening rental market and an increase in the prices of the most affordable 15 percent of housing offerings in the city.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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