The new report shows Colorado’s economy continues to improve, political and business leaders say, even as coronavirus cases rise, inflation rises, and labor and supply chain problems.
The state’s gross domestic product has returned to pre-crisis levels, unemployment has fallen and the labor force has risen 1.9%, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a telephone conversation with reporters on Thursday.
A new report released by the Griswold office and the University of Colorado Boulder’s business research department found that the state added 102,100 jobs between September 2020 and September 2021, an increase of 3.9%.
The state unemployment rate was 5.6% in September, up from 5.9% in August. During the recession caused by the pandemic, the maximum rate was 12.1% in April 2020, according to the quarterly business and economic report.
“In my opinion, one of the most encouraging signs at the state level was the initial applications for unemployment benefits. As of October 23rd, we have just over 2,000 people left, ”said Rich Wobbackind, Senior Economist and Faculty Director of Leeds.
In 2019, before the pandemic, the number of initial jobless claims averaged 1,859 per week, Wobbekind added.
At the end of 2020, the number of claims filed for unemployment benefits exceeded 40,000 in one week, as the number of new cases of COVID-19 soared, causing restrictions on businesses.
Griswold called Colorado’s economic recovery unfinished, noting that economic and social inequalities that existed before the pandemic worsened during the coronavirus outbreak.
“The recovery has been uneven across industries, state areas and ethnic communities,” Griswold said. “Too many Colorado residents still cannot afford housing, childcare and health care, or pay their monthly bills.”
Wobbeckind referred to “the specter of inflation on the horizon” that could shake consumer confidence. Labor shortages and supply chain problems that prevent parts and products from being delivered to store shelves are worrying businesses.
The 194,000 jobs added in September across the country were disappointing, Wobbackind said. But he said a private analysis released ahead of the upcoming Bureau of Labor Statistics report on jobs showed the new numbers could be strong.
At the state level, 38,211 new business applications were filed in the third quarter, down 2.7% from the previous quarter. But the decline followed “an incredible surge in Colorado and nationwide” in the previous six months, Wobbekind said.
In the third quarter, the number of business renewals increased by 4.7% to 162,260 applications.
And in Colorado, from September 2020 to September 2021, 102,100 jobs were created, an increase of 3.9%. Although the state’s unemployment rate still exceeds the US national seasonally adjusted 4.8%, Colorado’s 68.2% labor force is the fourth-highest in the country.
Labor force participation is calculated by dividing the number of people employed or looking for work by the working-age population. Wobbeckind said the strong pace is a good sign for the state’s long-term economic growth.