Colorado’s Economic Rollercoaster: Job Growth Soars, Inflation Dips, Recession Looms


Last updated: November 19, 2023

The latest economic report from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and the CU Leeds School of Business paints a picture of a state economy that’s as unpredictable as a Rocky Mountain weather forecast.

Colorado's Economic Rollercoaster
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The 2023 3rd Quarter Business and Economic Indicators report reveals a strong job market, stubborn inflation, and the looming threat of a recession.

First off, the job market is booming. For every Coloradan hunting for a job, there are nearly two job openings.

“Colorado’s labor force participation ranked fourth highest in the nation in August, and grew two percent year over year,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

But here’s the catch: most of the job growth is in lower-wage jobs, and wage increases are playing catch-up with historic inflation.

Speaking of inflation, it’s proving to be as stubborn as a mule, but it’s on a downward trend. Price increases have stayed below 4% for four consecutive months through September.

However, Colorado’s inflation rate is still above the national average, with housing costs being a major culprit. “The Consumer Price Index for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area increased 5.4% year-over-year in September,” the report states.

“Colorado’s Economic Rollercoaster: Job Growth Soars, Inflation Dips, Recession Looms”

The latest economic report from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and the CU Leeds School of Business paints a picture of a state economy that’s as unpredictable as a Rocky Mountain weather forecast.

The 2023 3rd Quarter Business and Economic Indicators report reveals a strong job market, stubborn inflation, and the looming threat of a recession.

First off, the job market is booming. For every Coloradan hunting for a job, there are nearly two job openings.

“Colorado’s labor force participation ranked fourth highest in the nation in August, and grew two percent year over year,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

But here’s the catch: most of the job growth is in lower-wage jobs, and wage increases are playing catch-up with historic inflation.

Speaking of inflation, it’s proving to be as stubborn as a mule, but it’s on a downward trend. Price increases have stayed below 4% for four consecutive months through September.

However, Colorado’s inflation rate is still above the national average, with housing costs being a major culprit. “The Consumer Price Index for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area increased 5.4% year-over-year in September,” the report states.

And then there’s the elephant in the room: the possibility of a business recession. Many analysts predict a recession in 2024, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

Rich Wobbekind, a senior economist at CU Boulder, said, “it’s really looking like a slow growth economy in 2024, and it certainly doesn’t look like a disastrous economy in 2024.” He pointed out that unlike the 2008 financial recession, our major banks are currently in a strong position.

So, what’s next for Colorado’s economy? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a wild ride. Buckle up, folks.

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