Colorado is sandwiched between states to the west that are in worse economic shape – and states to the east that are faring better.
Colorado’s total employment declined 4.6 percent during the past year – higher than the average 2.8 percent among its six bordering states.
Only North Dakota and the Washington D.C. area have added jobs during the past 12 months, said Jeff Thredgold, senior economist for Vectra Bank Colorado.
The state, which has been in recession for nearly 18 months, has an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, and is expected to return to modest job creation within nine to 12 months.
The Vectra Bank Colorado Small Business Index showed that the ACCRA Cost of Living Index for Colorado Springs is 92.1 percent of the U.S. average, with Denver-Aurora at 104.1 percent, Boulder at 126.8 percent, Grand Junction at 100.9 percent, Pueblo at 84.5 percent, Gunnison at 117 percent and Fort Collins-Loveland at 94 percent.
Moody’s Economy.com rated Colorado at 100 percent of the U.S. average for the “cost of doing business,” with Colorado Springs at 89 percent and Denver at 92 percent.
Although the economy is stabilizing, “vibrant economic conditions are still perhaps 18 to 24 months away,” Thredgold said.
But the state’s long-term economic potential is strong, because of high-quality universities, strong population growth, world-class recreational opportunities, a solid work ethic, and reasonable business and living costs.