WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado`s unemployment rate still tops 8 percent, but one of the state’s counties that once struggled the most is making huge strides in the job market.
And for Weld County, it`s all thanks to an abundance of natural resources.
If you’ve ever driven through northern Colorado you’ve seen oil tanks and derricks that stretch all the way to the Wyoming border.
“In Weld County, 38 percent of our active oil and gas wells are located in that area,” said Patty Silverstein, president and chief economist at Development Research Partners.
Silverstein has seen huge employment gains in Weld County and credits what lies beneath the ground. Eric Berglund, who heads up the Upstate Colorado Economic Development, said oil has been nothing shy of black gold for Weld County.
“This county is the only county in the state without any debt,” Berglund said. “Our hotels are full because of (the oil boom). Obviously restaurants are seeing more activity. Car dealers are selling lots of vehicles.”
Several companies have moved to the county as a result, including PTI Manufacturing USA, which set up shop in Berthoud. The company builds modular housing for oil camps, and because most of its operations take place indoors, the company provides year round construction jobs.
When PTI moved to Weld County, a 100,000 square foot facility was already built, meaning they could start hiring right away. Right now the company has more than 120 employees and they`re looking for more.
“We`re hoping to get to 145 and that will actually keep us on our one shift right now,” Operations Manager Kelly hart said.
The central location is also big draw for PTI. Their facility is located near two major highways that stretch across the country.
Even more money will be pumped into the state economy after the announcement from oil giant Anadarko that its company expects to invest $1 billion in capital into Colorado projects, many of which are in Weld County.