Help wanted: Telluride job seekers hold the cards in a tight labor market

Author: Joey Bunch - July 26, 2017 - Updated: July 27, 2017

Telluride jobs
Telluride Ski Resort went retro on closing day in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort)

If you’re a bit of a flake on the job, then the place for you is Telluride. Go west, young man, and take your mountain bike with you.

The excellent Justin Criado lays it all out in the latest Telluride Daily Planet.

Unemployment in San Miguel County is among the lowest in the state, 2.1 percent, according to the latest state Department of Labor and Employment numbers for June. That’s two-tenths of a percent below the state jobless rate and 2.3 points below the national unemployment level.

That’s a good thing, right? Yes and no.

Low unemployment means there are fewer job seekers to choose from, and that makes it a pain to find qualified help who will actually show up in a tourist town like Telluride, where stores, restaurants and adventures that need guiding are plentiful for transient young folks sowing their wild oats in the Rockies.

Youth, legal weed and the siren call of adventure sometimes get in the way of punching a clock.

“Telluride is fairly transient in that sense,” Bas Afman, assistant general manager of Lumiere Hotel in Mountain Village, told Criado. “It’s kind of a community where people want to work for a year or a summer or a winter and then kind of move on to something either a little more serious or something else in life,”

But a seller’s market means it’s tough maintaining a workforce.

“I think because there’s so many jobs out there people know if they don’t perform they’ll have a job literally the next day,” Afman said.

And then there are expenses. Telluride has them. And affordable housing based on what retail and service jobs pay is a challenge.

And if you’re looking, The Daily Planet notes that the new Green Dragon marijuana shop in town is looking for a manager and staff, and the Placerville Post Office is looking for help.

Statewide, Colorado added 6,500 jobs from May to June — employing the equivalent to the population of Aspen.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.