Strong employment, production put Colo. economy ahead of nation’s

Colorado’s economy continues to grow faster than the rest of the nation, according to the latest report from the Goss Institute for Economic Research.

The analysis shows Colorado’s production, delivery lead time, inventories and employment all grew during November.

“Expanding business growth was reported across a broad range of industries in the state including mining, durable goods manufacturing, and non-durable goods manufacturing. Furthermore, an advancing construction industry is having positive impacts on firms linked to this industry,” Executive Director Ernie Goss said.

Colorado’s is part of the “Mountain States” area that includes Utah and Wyoming in which growth also exceeds the national average.

The overall business conditions index fell slightly from 58.6 to 55.9. An index of 50 is considered growth neutral. Goss creates the index by averaging new orders, production or sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time.

“The region has grown at a pace exceeding that of the nation. Our regional survey results over the past several months, compared to national surveys, indicate that the regional economy will continue to outperform the national economy. Even so, regional growth over the next three to six months will slow, but remain positive,” Goss said.

The employment picture is looking rosier in the region as well, he said.

“For 2012, the regional economy has added jobs at its healthy pre-recession rate. Surveys indicate that business growth will slow, with job growth declining but remaining positive over the next three to six months,” he said. “ However even with healthy job growth for 2012, approximately 30 percent of supply managers expect no pay raise next year. On average, supply managers project a 1.6 percent wage gain for the next year.”.

Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as captured by the business confidence index, plummeted to 48.9 from 56.0 in October.

“Both the fiscal cliff and the uncertainty surrounding healthcare reform were reported by supply managers as negatively affecting their economic outlook,” Goss said.