2019 Colorado Business Economic Outlook

December 18, 2018

2019 Colorado Business Economic Outlook

Richard Wobbekind, PHD presented his Colorado Economic Forecast for 2019 in Denver.  Here's some of the significant items for Colorado Craft Brewers:

  • US GDP expected to expand at 2.7% compared to 2.9% in 2018.
  • Colorado GDP expected to grow faster than US but slower than prior years.
  • Employment growth occurred in all seven Colorado metropolitan areas led by Colorado Springs (5%), Greeley (4.3%) and Ft. Collins (3.1%).
  • Unemployment in Colorado for 2018 remains a record low 2.8% but is forecast to increase slightly to 3.1%.
  • Total Colorado population for 2017 is estimated at 5.6 million an increase of 75 thousand from previous year (1.4%).
  • Overall Colorado population growth of 1.4% masks that southeastern Colorado, eastern plains and northwestern Colorado have lost population while 10 front range counties between Ft. Collins and Colorado Springs have experience tremendous growth. 
  • Retirement Age (65 - 74) is projected to be the fastest growing cohort (23%).
  • Cattle still King in Colorado farm income but overall farm income down 3.3% in 2017.  Meat and other meat edibles are largest Colorado international export.
  • Construction activity continues robust in single family homes especially along front range.
  • Home Price Index 1 year change through Q2 2018:  Denver/Aurora/Lakewood +10.2%, Colo Spgs +11.5%, Pueblo +10.7%, Boulder +8.8%. 
  • Colorado Breweries are part of the Manufacturing sector.  In 2017 Colorado ranked 3rd nationally in number of Craft Breweries.  Wine makers and craft distilleries are also expanding.
  • Cannabis-In 2017, Colorado collected about $200 million in taxes and fees from Cannabis sales of $1.5 billion in about 39 counties.  No forecast made for 2018 or 2019.
  • Top Airports from 2017 statistics:  DIA had 61.4 million passengers, Colo Spgs had 1.7 million passengers, Grand Junction had .5 million passengers, Aspen had .5 million passengers.
  • Colorado Convention Center is expanding, Gaylord of the Rockies scheduled to open soon.  Outdoor Retailer trade show coming to Denver.  Total direct travel spending in Colorado in 2017 reached $20.9 billion up 6.5% from 2016.
  • Most popular Colorado Public Land Visits in 2018: Colorado State Parks had 16.5 million visits, Rocky Mountain NP had 4.6 million visits, Curecanti NRA had 852 thousand visits, Mesa Verde had 574 thousand visits.
  • Skier visits to Colorado down 3.7% from prior year attributed to record warm temperatures and low snowfall.
  • Smaller municipalities more financially stressed than larger ones.




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