The latest version of the most comprehensive economic outlook for Colorado predicts the state will grow, but at a slower pace in 2019.
The 2019 Colorado Business Economic Outlook, compiled by the Leeds Business Research Division at CU Boulder, covers forecasts the coming year for 13 industries and seven regions around the state.
We sat down with Rich Wobbekind, Leeds Business Research Division executive director, to find out what to watch in the state’s economy in 2019.
Colorado’s economy is growing, but slowing
“This growth is going to be broad-based,” Wobbekind said. “We always feel good about that, because it helps diversify the economy.”
The state is projected to add 53,200 jobs in 2019, a growth rate of 2 percent. However, that marks 11,800 fewer jobs than Colorado added in 2018.
Wobbekind said the state’s tight labor market is partly to blame for the slow-down.
Watch the areas outside of Denver
Grand Junction and Southern Colorado will be on an upswing in 2019, the outlook predicts.
“This has been an area that’s been struggling since the economic downturn in 2009,” Wobbekind explained. “And we’re seeing much stronger growth in the south in the Colorado Springs area.”
Tech and business services will be big winners
That is good news for the whole state, according to Wobbekind.
“This is great news in terms of higher quality jobs,” he said, “and jobs that have indirect benefits in creating secondary jobs as spinoffs.”
Agriculture will lag behind
The 2019 Colorado Business Economic Outlook shows tariffs and low commodity prices are weighing on the agriculture sector.
“Because agriculture is rurally based, and those areas of the state are not as diversified economically, this is a greater problem,” Wobbekind said.
Housing prices will stay high
Wobbekind said the state’s continued growth will keep housing demand high, and that likely will not change as the state continues attracting and keeping talented workers.
“Longer term, if we’re going to continue to have population growth,” Wobbekind said, “we certainly need to invest in more infrastructure.”
He said that applies to education, transportation and public utilities like water.