Colorado economy still in 'recovery mode,' report says

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Published Friday, November 5, 2021
by Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) - Colorado's economy is still in "recovery mode," according to the latest quarterly economic indicator report.

The state recorded 38,211 new business filings in the third quarter, down 3.7% from the second quarter, according to the report, which was compiled by the Leeds Business Research Division (BRD) at the University of Colorado Boulder in conjunction with the secretary of state's office.

Business renewals increased by 4.7% in the third quarter with 162,260 filings, the report found.

"While our economy continues its recovery with gains in [Gross Domestic Product] and job growth, too many Coloradans are still struggling to afford housing, child care, health care and monthly bills," Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement. "While the signs of recovery are encouraging, we still have a long road ahead until the recovery is felt by all Coloradans." 

One area of concern the report identified is the slowing GDP growth nationwide. In the third quarter, the national GDP increased by just 2% as inflation sent prices higher for both consumers and businesses.

Colorado has seen its prices grow nearly 13.8% since 2020's second quarter, according to the report. That marks the 12th-fastest pace in the country.

Meanwhile, the retail price of gasoline is up more than 58% year-over-year with the average cost of a gallon of gas in Colorado at more than $3.60, the report said.

"Businesses have expressed concern about the impacts of increased inflation, as well as supply chain constraints at a time when consumer demand for goods and services is increasing," said Rich Wobbekind, senior economist at the Leeds Business Research Division. "COVID-19 variants and worker shortages also remain a concern."

Despite the concerns, the report found Colorado's GDP still ranks above the national average. The state's GDP increased 11.8% in the second quarter at an annualized growth rate of 7.2%, good enough to rank Colorado the 10th most economically productive state in the country.

At the same time, the state saw its labor force participation rate increase to near pre-pandemic levels at 68.2%, ranking the state 4th in the country.

Coloradans have also seen their household income grow to $66,679 per capita, the 10th highest total nationwide.

However, Colorado's unemployment rate remains at 5.6% compared to the nationwide 4.8% average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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