Colorado Economic Forecast 2021: Jobs Gains, But No Full Recovery


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Thousands of new jobs will be created in 2021 in Colorado, but not enough jobs to make up for the losses caused by the pandemic, according to the latest Colorado Business Economic Outlook.

Colorado is expected to regain 40,500 jobs in the new year, according to the report, which was compiled by the Leeds Business Research division of the University of Colorado Boulder. Unfortunately, the projected job gains represent less than a third of the job losses estimated by the state in 2020.

Analysts have broken down 13 industries and seven regions of the state.

“It will continue to be a bumpy road as long as the economy goes through gradual lockdowns,” said Richard Wobbekind, senior economist at Leeds.

“The outlook for 2021 depends on the ability of a vaccine to reopen the economy, especially in the service sectors. Our expectation is a stronger second half.”


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Nine of the state’s 11 industries are expected to gain jobs .; However, Colorado will likely come out of the top 10 states for job growth in 2020 and 2021, Wobbekind said.

The industries that have been hit hardest by the pandemic – recreation, hospitality, commerce, transport and utilities – are expected to grow the most in 2021, according to the report. Leisure and hotels are expected to create 19,200 jobs. Trade, transport and public services are expected to create 14,700 jobs.

The public sector is expected to lose the most jobs – 6,900. The information sector is expected to lose 1,100 jobs.

Work-from-home changes spurred by the pandemic will continue to impact commercial real estate, transportation and retail sales, according to the report.

Colorado’s population growth will be the slowest since 2003, adding about 53,300 people, according to the State Demography Office. Only 35,100 new Colorado transplants will come from net in-migration.

Chart courtesy of Colorado Business Economic Outlook.

The report was presented virtually to business leaders in the state at the 56th annual Colorado Economic Outlook Forum on Monday.

>> Read the whole Colorado Economic Outlook here.

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