While Colorado’s economy has regained much of the ground lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, headwinds persist and are slowing down the recovery effort, state officials and economists say.
“Today’s report indicates that Colorado’s economy continues to improve,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Thursday after the release of Colorado’s Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report, but COVID-19 variants, supply-chain constraints and worker shortages remain threats.
Colorado added 102,100 jobs between September 2020 and September 2021, good for 3.9% growth, according to the report, a joint effort between Griswold’s office and the University of Colorado Leeds Business Research Division.
A total of 38,211 new business filings were made in the third quarter of 2021, down 2.7% from the previous quarter.
There were 162,260 business renewals filed in the most recent period, a bump of 4.7%.
Dissolutions, of which 9,137 were recorded in the third quarter, were up about 10% year-over-year. That said, dissolutions slowed from the second quarter of 2021 to the third.
Colorado’s gross domestic product rose 11.8% between the second quarter of 2020 and the same period in 2021, matching pre-pandemic levels.
Still, Griswold said, “the recovery has been uneven across industries, areas of the state and communities. Too many Coloradans are still struggling to afford housing, child care, health care and monthly bills.”
Inflation and affordability remain concerns both for average Coloradans and for economists.
Home price growth increased 13.8% from the second quarter 2020 to the second quarter 2021, good for 12th-fastest in the country.
Meanwhile, gas prices in Colorado grew 58% year-over-year.
A nationwide index that tracks inflation across industries and product types showed a 5% year-over-year increase.
Inflation is “causing a lot of concerns, particularly among consumer confidence,” Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of the Leeds Business Research Division, said Thursday during a press call about the Business and Economic Indicators report.
Despite the spectre of continued inflation, there’s reason for optimism heading into the winter, he said.
“We’re really hopeful that the fourth quarter (of 2021) and the first quarter of 2022 remain relatively strong in terms of carrying the economic recovery forward.”
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