Thu February 14, 2013

Boulder County Economy Helping State Recovery Efforts

Boulder County’s diverse economy is helping lead the state of Colorado out of its economic doldrums.

Boulder County Business Report publisher Chris Wood spoke with KUNC’s Brian Larson about the latest economic statistics released by the University of Colorado and what they mean for the in the Denver-Boulder region.

Interview Highlights:

“We actually saw the employment level during the recession fall as low as 1.34 million in January 2010. But Denver-Boulder has officially reached its pre-recession employment levels, with employment at more than 1.4 million jobs in December. That’s according to an analysis by CU Leeds School of Business economist Brian Lewandowski. And that employment level is the highest since April 2008.”

On where the jobs are are coming from…

“We’re seeing strength in a number of different sectors. Manufacturing and technical services account for 14 percent of all wages in the area, and both remain strong. We’re also seeing dramatic job growth in health care and social services, which grew 12 percent recently. In Boulder County, we’re also seeing construction permits that are the highest in a decade. And construction has always been a major driver of the Colorado economy.”

On the role of healthcare in the recovery…

“There’s really no end in sight to demand for health-care workers. In the Boulder area alone, multiple hospital construction projects are under way, costing hundreds of millions of dollars. And along I-25, in Broomfield and Weld counties, three different hospital systems have purchased land for future expansion, with Longmont United Hospital beginning construction next month on a medical center in Frederick. So expect those health-care jobs numbers to keep going up.”

If there are any negatives in the latest statistics…

“There’s still some uncertainty out there. Even with the positive economic gains, confidence could be higher among small businesses. Many are still worried about the federal budget picture, and sequestration could have a big impact on the Boulder County aerospace sector. So there are still some hurdles ahead.”