Colorado’s economy improving, but recovery may be slowing


BOULDER — Colorado business continues to improve from its lows in March and April 2020, but recovery may be slowing, according to a report released last week by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and the University of Colorado Boulder.

The state’s Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report is prepared by the Leeds Business Research Division (BRD) at CU Boulder in conjunction with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. The report shows an economy that is slowly improving but may have stalled at the end of 2020.

A total of 34,630 corporations, nonprofits and other entities filed initial documents with the Secretary of State’s Office in the fourth quarter of 2020. New entities filings increased 22.1% year-over-year, continuing a trend of strong gains since May, but the rate fell 10.5% from the previous quarter.

Existing entity renewals remained stable in the most recent quarter, with nearly 150,000 entities filing for renewals. Dissolution filings, in contrast, climbed in the fourth quarter of 2020. More than 10,000 businesses dissolved in that period, an 8.1% increase from the previous year and an 18.7% increase from the previous quarter.

“This latest state economic indicators report shows that while we have seen improvement in our economy since last Spring, total recovery remains distant,” said Secretary Griswold. “Colorado’s economy continues to be tested, but with slow and steady gains, there is still reason for Coloradans to be optimistic that improvement will continue into 2021.”

Next for Colorado economy

BRD monitors the Secretary of State’s quarterly indicators because they are often an early indicator of jobs and business growth.

“Despite the sagging economy at the end of the fourth quarter, there are many reasons for optimism,” said Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of the Leeds Business Research Division. “But the road ahead of us is likely a long one with respect to regaining our lost jobs.”

Colorado’s job losses in December ranked the state 26th, and the state had the 47th-highest unemployment rate in the country in December. Initial jobless claims also spiked in the fourth quarter of 2020, reaching the highest level since May.

Home price growth accelerated in the third quarter of 2020, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA Purchase-Only Home Price Index increased 4.6% from the third quarter of 2019, a pace slower than the national average.

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