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Colorado’s strong jobs performance yet another sign of state’s robust economy

According to WalletHub, a financial analysis Colorado ranked highly in job opportunities, job growth, median annual income, monthly average salary among others. This study shows something that we already knew - the Colorado Economy is hot right now. All of these are drivers of economic development and we have seen how that can be positive for our state as well as give us opporunities to tackle some big challenges.

Even as the nation’s unemployment rate has dropped to the lowest levels seen in many years, in some parts of the U.S. it has remained difficult to find employment.

For anyone willing to relocate who is having a hard time landing the right job, a move to Colorado may be worthy of consideration, according to a new study from WalletHub. The financial analysis firm recently published a report, “2018’s Best & Worst States for Jobs,”and Colorado finished in second place, behind only Washington state.

WalletHub assembled rankings from 29 different categories to devise its ultimate scores for the 50 states. They were sorted into two main subcategories, “economic environment,” where Colorado was only 19th best, and “job market,” where Colorado finished first.

"Some of the main factors that contributed to this ranking are the unemployment rate [at 2.8 percent], which is the lowest in the country, as well as the highest marks for job security,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “The presence of work share programs and the fact that the state has non-discrimination laws and policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity also help."


Other high marks for Colorado included:

  • 2nd in job opportunities

  • 4th in employment growth

  • 7th in underemployment rank

  • 5th in median annual income

  • 5th in monthly average starting salary

It wasn’t all good news for the state. Some of the weaker showings included a 31st place for share of part-time employees, 32nd in average length of work week, and 31st in average commute time.

Among Colorado’s neighbors, Utah was fourth overall, Nebraska 11th, Kansas 22nd, Oklahoma 39th, Wyoming 41st and New Mexico 43rd.

When Colorado released its quarterly economic and revenue forecast recently, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper suggested that the state might have the healthiest economy in the nation.

“The entrepreneurs, executives, and indeed the entire workforce in our state have helped make Colorado one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, economy in the country,” Hickenlooper said. “While it’s great to see potential revenue growth, we need to remain vigilant and cautious to safeguard the inevitable future downturn.”

The forecast noted that the state is still seeing strong employment growth, but the lack of workers could begin to drag on the state’s economy.

“Colorado’s economy continues to experience solid growth with expectations of ongoing expansion,” the forecast said. “Business confidence remains positive, while oil production remains near record levels. Colorado employment growth has accelerated moderately, highlighted by increases in the labor force participation rate and average hourly wages. Economic growth has been widespread across most industries. However, continued tight labor markets and rising home prices are expected to constrain growth throughout the forecast period.”

WalletHub reached out to experts in the field of employment to provide more context to their findings. They asked Bruce Sacerdote, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, what the government could do to encourage manufacturing growth in the years to come.

“The corporate tax cuts are a sensible way to stimulate business investment,” Sacerdote said. “But the onshoring of manufacturing will look quite different than the manufacturing jobs that left. Coal mining is also heavily subject to substitution of sophisticated capital equipment to save labor. But given the greener and cleaner ways to produce energy [including fracked natural gas], perhaps we should not have policies to encourage additional coal production.”

Sacerdote also suggested that there was no particular reason to expect that the strong growth in jobs in Colorado and nationwide is necessarily going to come to an end in the near term.

“Expansions do not die of old age,” he said. “There is still ample room for labor force participation to grow. I am looking forward to at least another couple of years of robust job growth, but my random guess is no better than anyone else's.”

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