Stories

The U.S. state most desperate for workers

Needy job site (AP/Peter M. Fredin)

While many are focusing on a forecast robot apocalypse, a lot of states are desperate to fill jobs, including ones requiring comparatively little skill. Colorado has the worst problem. It's short 10,000 construction workers. Its ski industry needs winter workers. Its frackers need rig workers.

The state attracts 30,000 to 50,000 new residents every year. Yet, joblessness is at a rock-bottom 2.3%, according to the federal government. At 1.8% in April, the city of Boulder's jobless rate was the lowest of any city in the country.

A level deeper: It's a snapshot of a possibly ephemeral nationwide skilled jobs shortage. The national jobless rate in May was 4.3%, its lowest since May 2001; the number of job openings rose to another all-time high in April, but firms had serious trouble filling them -- all evidence of what economists call a burst of employment before automation causes massive joblessness, years from now.