Worker shortage will hold back Colorado’s economic growth in 2018, CU economists predict |

Worker shortage will hold back Colorado’s economic growth in 2018, CU economists predict

By ALDO SVALDI / The Denver Post
A workman paints lettering on a concrete pillar inside the new Whole Foods Market at Union Station on Oct. 25, 2017 in Denver.
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Job growth in Colorado is expected to slow next year as an overtaxed infrastructure system and worker shortages weigh on the economy, according to the Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2018, which was released Monday.

“The economy is still strong here. We just don’t have enough labor,” said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the business research division at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, which prepares the closely followed forecast.

The outlook doesn’t call for a downturn. If one is in the cards, it probably won’t start to show up nationally until 2019, Wobbekind said. Rather, it projects hiring in Colorado will slow next year, not because of a lack of job openings but rather a lack of workers to fill those positions.

Colorado is expected to add 56,300 non-farm payroll jobs this year, a growth rate of 2.2 percent. That is close to last year’s 57,300 jobs added and 2.3 percent growth rate. Next year, the state is expected to add 47,100, a growth rate of only 1.8 percent.

The three industries that will contribute the most to job gains next year are professional and business services, with about 10,000 jobs added; trade transportation and utilities with 8,700 jobs added; and education and health services, with 8,400 jobs added.

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