Colorado’s small business index jumped in January

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The Vectra Bank Colorado Small Business Index for Colorado rose significantly to 81.5 in January, up from a revised 74.5 in December.

The index measures business conditions from the viewpoint of small business owners or managers.

Economists attribute part of the increased index to robust national economic growth and to higher state unemployment numbers –  which increases labor availability for small businesses.

Colorado’s unemployment rate was estimated at 7.5 percent in the latest month, up from the prior month’s 6.9 percent rate. During the past 12 months, employment fell by 87,700 jobs.

Although the rate of job losses has slowed for the state, progress will remain slow during the rest of the year, said Jeff Thredgold, corporate economist for Vectra Bank Colorado.

Regional economy

Although unemployment rates of the states within the Rocky Mountain region increased sharply during 2008 and 2009, jobless rates have likely peaked in many states. Thredgold said that all 50 states are still in recession, lagging behind the national economy, but will eventually benefit from economic growth the nation has had over the past six months.

Key components of the Colorado Small Business Index are the unemployment rate, year-over-year gains or losses in employment, and the performance of regional and U.S. economies.

The Vectra Bank Index uses 100.0 for calendar year 1997 as its base year.

The U.S. Small Business Index rose to 92.2 in January, up from a revised 86.3 in December.