New data shows Colorado business is primed for growth in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released today by the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
The Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report is prepared by the Leeds Business Research Division (BRD) at CU Boulder in Conjunction with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. The latest report shows the state is firmly in recovery mode from the 2020 recession. New entity filings posted near-record gains in the second quarter, increasing 25.7% year-over-year.
Second quarter filings were down 12.3% from the first quarter, a normal seasonal pattern observed each year. Existing entity renewals also increased modestly year-over-year by 1.7%.
“Colorado is on the road to recovery despite historic economic challenges. While the latest data is encouraging, we know that the pandemic has deepened wealth and income inequalities in our state and many Coloradans have not seen a return to pre-pandemic normal,” said Secretary Griswold. “As we continue to rebuild from the pandemic, there is incredible opportunity to ensure that Colorado’s strengthening economy is benefiting all communities.”
The report shows Colorado’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.4% year-over-year, while personal income, businesses in good standing and dissolution filings are also on the rise.
Different regions, different results
While the overall recovery in the state trends positive, the impact on the various regions in Colorado has varied. Employment recovery in the Colorado Springs and Fort Collins metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are leading the state, while employment recovery in Boulder and Greeley MSAs are lagging.
Unemployment in the state remains at 6.2%, ranking 35th in the country. While Colorado’s labor force growth ranks 23rd in the U.S., labor force participation rate is third strongest in the country at 68.5%.
“The high participation rate indicates many Coloradans are employed or actively seeking employment,” said Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of the Leeds Business Research Division. “This trend could lead to a full jobs recovery from the recession in 2022.”
Colorado remained down 99,900 jobs from the January 2021 peak. Jobless claims in the state are hovering at around 5,000 per week.
Business leaders in Colorado expressed record optimism in the economy ahead of the third quarter. The Leeds Business Confidence Index was 67.3 ahead of Q3 and remained elevated looking to the fourth quarter (65.4). A score of 50 is neutral.