Glimpse into Colorado’s 2023 economy reveals slowdown but still signs of job growth

The annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook presentation points to some bright spots in what’s expected to be a challenging year for some industries.

Tamara Chuang
The Colorado Sun
Richard Wobbekind, Associate Dean for Business & Government Relations, Senior Economist and Faculty Director of the Business Research Division and at the University of Colorado Boulder, before presenting the Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2023 report in Denver on Dec. 5, 2022.
Tamara Chuang/The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s overall economy slowed this year, a trend that is expected to continue in 2023, at least that’s what’s in a forecast put together by dozens of economists and industry leaders around the state. 

But while mentioning reasons like the impact of the war in Ukraine, high inflation and the end of federal pandemic benefits, economists said that the reality could change. This year, for example, Colorado added more jobs than had been forecast for 2022 — off by nearly 47,000 new jobs.

“After revisions to the data, we believe Colorado added 120,800 jobs this year, growing at 4.4%,” Richard L. Wobbekind, faculty director for University of Colorado’s Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business, said during a presentation Monday in Denver. “This is well above what we forecasted a year ago at this time.”

Last year, businesses complained that it was difficult to find enough workers, and that played into the reason why Wobbekind and his team underestimated job growth. Last year’s report predicted about 73,900 new jobs, setting a record for employment in Colorado. The state still set a record, reaching 3,146,008 employed individuals in August.

“Generally, we didn’t think there were enough bodies” to fill more jobs, Wobbekind said in an earlier interview. “There are certain sectors that grew faster than we anticipated. There was strong growth in manufacturing, life sciences, and there was really strong growth in professional and business services that were beyond what we envisioned.”


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