Leeds School forecast: economy to continue expansion in 2015

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Sunday, December 14th, 2014 at 4:03pm.

Local economists are expecting Colorado’s economy keep growing in 2015 after having the highest employment increase since the start of the century in 2014.

That’s according to the information released by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business’s prior to its 50th annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum earlier this month.

The gain of 61,300 jobs will cover every business sector – except the information industry – in 2015, says Richard Wobbekind, economist and Leeds School senior associate dean for academic programs.

“Not only is the state’s economy solidly in positive territory, but it is ranking in the top five nationally for population growth, employment growth, wage and salary growth and personal income growth,” says Wobbekind. “With Colorado’s low unemployment rate, we are now hearing about worker shortages for some industries, as well as upward wage pressures.”

Colorado is expected to rank in the top 10 states for job growth in 2015 with workers added in both goods- and services-producing sectors.

The strongest sector for projected job growth in Colorado next year is professional and business services, which could add 12,800 jobs, 3.3 percent growth.

“Part of the strength in the professional and business services sector is linked to innovation and high tech in the state, and part is attributable to infrastructure development and repair in the state,” Wobbekind says.

Other leading job growth sectors for 2015 include the leisure and hospitality sector, which is expected to add 11,200 jobs, and the education and health services sector, which is expected to add 9,300 jobs.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector – which includes everything from wholesale and retail trade to a variety of transportation features such as Denver International Airport and gas pipelines, as well as utilities – is the largest provider of jobs in Colorado. It is expected to grow by 9,100 employees in 2015.

DIA, which served more than 52.5 million passengers in 2013 and is the 15th busiest airport in the world, is projected to hit records in 2015 despite construction at the facility and roadwork in the area.

Retail sales in the state are anticipated to rise by 7 percent in 2015, down slightly from 8 percent growth in 2014.

Though it was one of the greatest casualties of the recession, the construction sector has exhibited strong growth in values, permits and employment in recent years, Wobbekind says. It’s expected to hire 6,000 people in 2015.

Colorado’s total construction activity, which will be reported at just under $12 billion for 2014, is forecast to increase by $1.4 billion in 2015, with infrastructure volumes and residential permit values rising. The state will also witness a surge in nonresidential building.

The unemployment rate is expected to remain around 4.6 percent in the coming year, which is comparatively better than the national unemployment rate.

“We are quite fortunate for the jobs being created in the state,” says Wobbekind. “Between 2013 and 2015, Colorado will record the three best years for job growth since 2000.”

Colorado’s population is the fourth-fastest growing in the country by percentage behind North Dakota, the District of Columbia and Utah. The state’s population is projected to grow by 1.7 percent, or by 89,000 people, to a total of about 5.4 million people by July 2015.

To view the entire economic outlook for Colorado in 2015 including other sectors -- such as agriculture, natural resources and mining, financial activities and government – visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/BRD.


Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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