Colorado economy continues slow recovery


Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold’s Office

The Colorado economy continues to notch improvements in job growth, gross domestic product (GDP) and existing entity renewals, but new entity filings fell in the third quarter 2021, according to a report released recently 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 that Colorado added 102,100 jobs between September 2020 and September 2021 (3.9 percent growth), and the state’s unemployment rate improved to 5.6 percent.

The state recorded 38,211 new business filings in the third quarter, down 2.7 percent from the previous quarter. Business renewals increased 4.7 percent in Q3, with 162,260 filings.

“While our economy continues its recovery with gains in GDP and job growth, too many Coloradans are still struggling to afford housing, childcare, health care and monthly bills,” said Griswold. “While the signs of recovery are encouraging, we still have a long road ahead until the recovery is felt by all Coloradans.” 

Colorado’s GDP ranks above average, increasing 11.8 percent between the second quarter 2020 and second quarter 2021, returning the state to pre-pandemic levels.

Prices are impacting consumers

The national GDP slowed to an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter 2021 and prices increased sharply.

In Colorado, home price growth increased 13.8 percent from the second quarter 2020 to the second quarter 2021. That pace is the 12th fastest in the country.

Retail gasoline prices also increased 58 percent year over year. The average cost per gallon in Colorado on Oct. 25 was $3.64.

“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 and faculty director of the BRD. “COVID-19 variants and worker shortages also remain a concern.”

Colorado’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average at 5.6 percent. Yet, the state’s labor force participation rate ranks fourth in the country at 68.2 percent.

Business leaders have tempered their optimism ahead of the fourth quarter 2021, but still have expressed confidence in the economy as Colorado continues to rebound from the pandemic.