A new report shows that Colorado’s economy continues to improve, say politicians and business leaders, even in the face of rising coronavirus cases, rising inflation, and labor and supply chain challenges.
The state’s gross domestic product rate has returned to pre-recession levels, the unemployment rate has fallen and the labor force has increased by 1.9%, Foreign Minister Jena Griswold said during a phone call with reporters on Thursday.
A new report released by Griswold’s office and the Leeds Business Research Division at the University of Colorado Boulder says the state created 102,100 jobs between September 2020 and September 2021, a growth rate of 3.9%.
The state’s unemployment rate was 5.6% in September, compared with 5.9% in August. According to the quarterly annual and economic report, the rate peaked at 12.1% in April 2020 during the pandemic-induced recession.
“In my opinion, the first unemployment claims were one of the most encouraging signs from the state level. It’s just over 2,000 for the week of October 23, ”said Rich Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director at Leeds.
In 2019, before the pandemic, initial jobless claims averaged 1,859 per week, Wobbekind added.
At the end of 2020, the number of applications for unemployment benefits rose to over 40,000 in one week as the number of new COVID-19 cases increased, imposing restrictions on businesses.
Calling Colorado’s economic recovery an ongoing project, Griswold noted that the pre-pandemic economic and social disparities worsened during the coronavirus outbreak.
“The recovery has been mixed across industries, areas of the state and ethnic communities,” said Griswold. “Too many Coloradans are still struggling to afford housing, childcare, health care, and monthly bills.”
Wobbekind referred to the “inflationary specter on the horizon” that could shake consumer confidence. Businesses are worried about labor shortages and supply chain issues that have delayed parts to manufacturers and products getting to shelves.
The 194,000 new jobs added nationwide in September are a disappointing number, said Wobbekind. But he said a private analysis released ahead of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ upcoming job report suggested the new numbers could be strong.
At the state level, 38,211 new business registrations were registered in the third quarter, 2.7% fewer than the previous quarter. But the decline followed “an incredible surge in Colorado and nationally” over the past six months, Wobbekind said.
Business renewals rose 4.7% in the third quarter to 162,260 registrations.
And Colorado created 102,100 jobs between September 2020 and September 2021, an increase of 3.9%. While the state’s unemployment rate remains above the US seasonally adjusted national rate of 4.8%, Colorado’s employment rate of 68.2% is the fourth highest in the country.
The labor force participation rate is calculated from the number of employees or jobseekers divided by the working-age population. Wobbekind said the high rate bodes well for the country’s long-term economic growth.