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Colorado's Running on All Cylinders

The Economist asks: Where will we get additional labor to fuel growth?


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After catching a short breath at the end of 2017, the Colorado economy is revving up once again with wage and salary employment from May 2017 to 2018, increasing 2.8 percent. The unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since October 2000 and initial claims for unemployment continue dropping. The only question:

Where we will get additional labor to fuel growth?

Employers may have become so frustrated that they are running fewer “Help Wanted” ads online. This is a national phenomenon and, along with corporate tax cuts, may be driving higher levels of business optimism and investment.

How do we maintain sales without more workers? Investment in technology? Relaxing Green Card requirements

Below are Summit Economics’ May and first quarter indicators.

Passenger traffic traveling through Denver International Airport was up 3 percent despite a decrease in air carrier traffic.  Planes are operating with more passengers.  Air freight shipments are up 4 percent. The only economic drag is fewer new car and light truck sales which is running below the national level on a relative basis. Despite lower auto sales, the economists are forecasting higher increases in retail sales in 2018 than 2017 thanks to growing total wages and a robust housing market. 

Keep an eye out for next month’s mid-year economic forecast. 

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Tom Binnings

Tom Binnings is a senior partner at Summit Economics in Colorado Springs. He has more than 30 years of experience in project management, economic and market research, real estate development, business analytics and strategic planning. He can be reached at (719) 471-0000 or tbinnings@comcast.net.

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