Mountain States economy continues slow growth

The overall economic index for the mountain states region shows slow, positive growth in the months ahead.

Colorado’s leading economic indicator dipped slightly – but is still growing. New orders, sales and production, inventories and employment all showed gains.

“Driven by solid employment gains and unemployed exiting the work force, Colorado’s unemployment rate has declined by .7 percent over the last three months,” said Dr. Ernie Goss, director of the Goss Institute for Economic Research Director that conducts the study. “I expect continuing improvements in the state’s labor market with somewhat slower job growth and a slight improvement in the state’s unemployment rate.”

The index for the three state area of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming advanced above growth-neutral for 21 months straight.

The business conditions index is a mathematical average of indices for new orders, production or sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time.

“Elevated energy prices are a double-edged sword for the Mountain States economy,” Goss said. “Energy firms and firms linked to the sector continue to experience healthy growth. On the other hand, high energy prices are reducing the growth of big users of energy, such as manufacturers.”

The Goss Institute, which conducts the monthly survey, also found that the employment index dipping.

“This month, we asked supply managers how much of a pay raise they anticipate for the next year,” he said. On average, supply managers expect an increase of only 1.5 percent for next year. Even though prospects have improved during the last six months, supply managers see little opportunity for wage growth.”