Published: Dec. 10, 2019

Leeds’ Business Research Division hosted its 55th annual Business Economic Outlook Forum on December 9 at the Grand Hyatt Denver. The highlight of this yearly event is an economic forecast by sector for Colorado for the upcoming year. The forecast was presented by Richard Wobbekind, executive director for Leeds Business Research Division and Kelly Brough, president and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Download the 2020 Economic Outlook Book
For the full breakdown of the economic outlook by sector, download the 2020 Colorado Business Economic Outlook book here.

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This economic forecast was developed in partnership with 125 private and public leaders across Colorado. Opening remarks were provided by Dean Sharon Matusik and Colorado’s 39th Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Griswold emphasized the dedicated work her office is doing to support small businesses in Colorado and help local entrepreneurs thrive. They want to do everything they can to help Coloradans achieve their own American dream.

How will Colorado’s economy shape up for 2020?

The trend for 2019 was growing but slowing, which will continue into 2020. According to Wobbekind, Colorado’s slower economic growth will be more apparent the further we are into the new year, but it will hardly qualify as a recession. This deceleration can be attributed to several factors, including a slower national economy, the tight labor market, trade tensions, the upcoming election year and general uncertainty about what lies ahead. Population will also continue to grow in our state, but at a slower rate.

All industry sectors can expect job growth next year, with the exception of the Information sector. Colorado maintains one of the most highly trained and educated workforces in the country, a key to supporting employment growth and attracts highly educated talent from other states through migration.

Following the forecast was a keynote panel on the future of energy in Colorado featuring Sarah Sandberg, senior director of Public Affairs and Investor Relations at DCP Midstream; Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy—Colorado; Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office; and Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services.

The panel highlighted what an exciting time it is for the energy sector, as technology is opening up a world of possibilities in for cleaner energy in the future. They were most excited about the possibilities for renewables and electric vehicles, the hydrogen economy, and reimagined uses of nuclear energy that would not be harmful to humans and superconducting materials.

The afternoon program concluded with three industry discussion sessions that addressed issues relevant to Colorado’s economy in 2020: one focused on the dynamic real estate sector, another on views of capital markets in an era of uncertainty and the third on a study of Colorado’s middle class.

The event attracted professionals from across industries in Colorado as well as students from the Leeds School of Business.