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Colorado Job Growth Slows, Companies Struggle To Find Skilled Workers

Flickr Creative Commons
Downtown Denver, Colorado

Colorado’s job and population growth will slow for the third consecutive year in 2018, according to a University of Colorado economic outlook released Dec. 11.

Overall, the state is projected to add 47,100 jobs next year, an increase of 1.8 percent. That’s less than the 56,000 jobs added in 2017 and 57,000 added in 2016.

Colorado’s unemployment rate is also projected to remain one of the lowest in the country, hovering around 2.6 percent

A shrinking workforce and low unemployment rates will hamper employment growth, according to Richard Wobbekind, executive director of CU’s Business Research Division.

“Migration into the state continues to be strong,” he said. “But one of the issues, though, is there is a very competitive environment nationwide.”

Many states, such as North Carolina, have good job markets, making it more difficult for employers in Colorado to attract and retain talent, he said.



The natural resources and mining industry will add the most jobs, percentage wise, in 2018, according to the report. Driven by increases in natural gas and oil prices, the industry is projected to add 1,100 jobs, a 4.4 percent growth from 2017.

“By being a major energy state, we wind up having relatively low energy prices internally in the state,” he said. “And that’s a good thing when we’re consuming.”



Credit Matt Bloom
*Indicates number of jobs created. Information from the Leeds School of Business 2018 Economic Outlook.


The industry adding the least amount of jobs is the information industry, which includes telecommunications and publishing. At 0.4 percent growth, it aims to add just about 300 jobs statewide, according to the report.




Overall, the U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report released last week. The national unemployment rate sits at 4.1 percent.

CU’s annual report, now in its 53rd year, is published by the Leeds School of Business. It looks at the 13 biggest industries in Colorado and projects how labor shortages and increasing housing demands will help or hurt them.

Information contained in CU’s economic outlook is turned over to business owners and lawmakers to help inform their decision making.



I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.