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Colorado unemployment rate edges up to 7.4 percent

DENVER — Colorado’s unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point in January to 7.4 percent, the state Department of Labor and Employment said Wednesday.

That compares with 6.7 percent a year ago.

The number of Coloradans with jobs declined by 4,700 in January to about 2.5 million. The number who looked for a job but couldn’t find one rose by 3,800, to about 196,000.

Donald Mares, director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said he expects Colorado’s unemployment rate to improve this year.

“While the unemployment rate may be volatile throughout 2010 as Coloradans re-enter the labor force, we expect to see the job market strengthen,” he said.

Employment increased in four sectors: trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; financial activities; and manufacturing.

Employment declined in education and health services, construction, professional and business services, and government.

The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in January, down 0.3 percentage point from December.

Woman killed when boulder hits car near Mount Harris this morning

55-year-old Craig woman was killed early this morning on U.S. Highway 40 near Hayden.

A 55-year-old Craig woman was killed early this morning on U.S. Highway 40 between Hayden and Steamboat Springs when a boulder fell onto the roof of the vehicle she was riding in.

The incident occurred between 7 and 7:30 a.m., Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said. He described it a “freak accident.” The woman, Karen Lynn Evanoff, was killed instantly, Ryg said.

Evanoff was a passenger in a 2004 Buick headed east on U.S. 40 toward Steamboat, where she worked. The basketball-sized rock came tumbling down Wolf Mountain, where the cliff band hugs the north side of U.S. 40 just past Mount Harris, Ryg said.

Colorado State Patrol Cpl. Eric Wynn said said the boulder struck the car near where the windshield meets the roofline.

The driver of the Buick, who was not identified, was able to pull the car to the side of the road. The driver was not injured.

U.S. 40 is one of two main detour routes around a large rockslide onto Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon.

“This is a very, very rare location for a rockslide,” CDOT spokeswoman Mindy Crane told 9News.

Crane said she hesitated to even call the incident a rockslide.

“It was a rock. One rock,” Crane said.

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