Why do so many people continue to move to Colorado? There are plenty of reasons, as we all know. But two in particular are dollars and cents.
Evidence of what we mean can be found in a new report from the research division at the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business. According to the Colorado Secretary of State's office, which released the analysis and provides data from its central business registry used in it, Colorado's economy continues to outpace most of the United States as a whole, and growth is expected to continue through the rest of this year and into 2019.
Here are some highlights from the findings about the third quarter of 2018, accessible below:
• Colorado’s economy grew 4.5 percent year-over-year in Q1 2018 and at an annualized rate of 3 percent for the quarter according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The largest year-over-year gains were recorded in the Information Sector and in Mining.
• Initial and continuing jobless claims in Colorado are at levels not seen since 2000. In August 2018, Colorado added approximately 72,200 jobs year-over-year, growth of 2.7 percent. The highest number of jobs was added in the Professional and Business Services industry and in the Leisure and Hospitality industry. The fastest pace of growth was recorded in the Mining Sector (including oil and gas), and in the Leisure and Hospitality Sector.
• Colorado wages outpace the nation. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-over-year total wages and wages per employee for the twelve months ending in Q1 [the first quarter of 2018] increased 5.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, in Colorado, compared to 4.1 percent and 2.6 percent nationally. Colorado average wages totaled $57,436 compared to $55,928 nationally.
• Colorado personal income increased $17.2 billion in Q2 2018 year-over-year, a 5.7 percent year-over-year increase according to the BEA.
These statistics look great on paper, but the reality is more complicated than that. Indeed, plenty of folks still struggle to make a living in Denver despite the strong economy, partly because of housing costs that continue to rise in many, if not all, metro-area neighborhoods. And the report acknowledges that gains aren't being experienced equally across the state.
One section reads: "Measuring job growth, Colorado’s urban counties continue to outperform rural counties in the pace of job growth. Over the last twelve months ending in Q1 2018, urban counties collectively grew 2.4 percent versus 1.8 percent for rural counties. However, over the last 21 months, the average pace of growth has increased from 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent."
Consumer prices are up by more in the Denver area than the national average, too. Gasoline costs rose by 3.2 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2018, compared to 2.5 percent nationally, and core inflation (all items other than those in the food and energy categories) increased 2.9 percent, versus 2.1 percent nationally.
At present, though, the large number of economic positives in Colorado far outweigh the negatives — which means we should expect a steady influx of new Coloradans for the foreseeable future.
Continue for examples related to personal income, sales tax receipts, annual wages, gross domestic product, the unemployment rate, jobless claims and more, illustrated by graphics from the Colorado Secretary of State Q3 2018 Data Analysis Summary.
WEALTH AND INCOME
Personal income (millions of dollars):
Current period: 320,966
Three months prior: 316,876
Percent change over prior period: +1.3 percent (National: +1.0 percent)
Annual percent change: +5.7 percent (National: +4.7 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: +5.4 percent (National: +4.4 percent)
Colorado sales tax receipts, twelve months trailing (billions of dollars):
Current period: 2.9
Three months prior: 2.8
Percent change over prior period: +1.5 percent
Annual percent change: +7.1 percent
Five year compound annual growth rate: +5.8 percent
Annual wages per employee:
Current period: $57,436 (Nationally: $55,928)
Three months prior: $56,914 (Nationally: $55,390)
Percent change over prior period: +0.9 percent (Nationally: +1.0 percent)
Annual percent change: +3.1 percent (Nationally: +2.6 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: +2.6 percent (Nationally: +3.2 percent)
Retail gasoline price (dollars per gallon)
Current period: $2.90 (Nationally: $2.87)
Three months prior: $2.79 (Nationally: $2.92)
Percent change over prior period: +4.1 percent (Nationally: -2.0 percent)
Annual percent change: +18.2 percent (Nationally: +6.9 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: -3.5 percent (Nationally: -3.6 percent)
Real quarterly gross domestic product (millions of chained 2009 dollars):
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Current period: 310,647
Three months prior: 308,339
Percent change over prior period: +3.0 percent (Nationally: +4.2 percent)
Annual percent change: +4.5 percent (Nationally: +2.6 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: +3.4 percent (Nationally: +2.4 percent)
Current period: 2.9 percent (Nationally: 3.7 percent)
Three months prior: 2.8 percent (Nationally: 4.0 percent)
Percent change over prior period: +0.6 percent (+0.4 percent)
Annual percent change: 0.0 percent (+1.7 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: +2.8 percent (+1.8 percent)
Continuing jobless claims:
Current period: 16,880
Three months prior: 19,623
Percent change over prior period: -14.0 percent (Nationally: -4.7 percent)
Annual percent change: -15.4 percent (-16.3 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: -15.0 percent (Nationally: -10.2 percent)
Initial jobless claims:
Current period: 1,545
Three months prior: 1,745
Percent change over prior period: -11.5 percent (Nationally: -7.7 percent)
Annual percent change: -4.2 percent (Nationally: -23.6 percent)
Five year compound annual growth rate: -10.7 percent (Nationally: -7.4 percent)