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State Forecasts Exponential Employment Growth For Colorado

Posted 2/25/2013 by Aspen Rent-All.
Filed under: Aspen News

Due to the national recession, some mountain communities in Colorado have witnessed a decline in population that had not been seen for several decades. Population in the five county region that includes Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, Jackson, and Grand, saw a population drop of less than 1 percent in 2011. The good news though is that early counts in 2012 showed the population of all these counties (with the exception of Grand county) going steadily up, and the state is anticipating fast growth in the future.

The expectation is that if tourism and other economic drivers such as retiree spending begin to flourish as is anticipated; the region will see a boost in jobs that will lead to a 35 percent increase in employment by 2020 or more than 3 percent per year.

More jobs equal more people, and the projection is that the population figure could double by the year 2030.

In addition to the expected rebound in tourism attraction, it’s safe to say that the state’s outlook for the region’s economic drivers is bright. The expected increase in the regions retiree population and subsequent spending will also play an important role in employment generation.

The job opportunities fueled by spending from the retiree community will be manifesting themselves in the form of local resident service jobs such as jobs in grocery stores, retail, and entertainment according to State Demographer Elizabeth Garner.

The prediction is a five-county population of 211,000 in 17 years. According to U.S census data, 112,700 people lived in the counties in 2010. This would prove to be an 87 percent jump in population by the year 2030.

While it’s hard to comprehend such an exponential level of growth, Garner points out that it’s lower than the growth the state had predicted before the recession came and slowed things down. Forecasts were revised late last year to reflect the decrease in population, bringing employment down 9 percent and population down by 4 percent.

Summit County government, taken aback by the suspected population growth, requested to submit build-out data-the maximum number of housing units that could potentially be built before land runs out- so the state can take housing availability into account in its formulas, which as of now run unconstrained.

While the new data will help couch population forecasts, it could also potentially push projections up for the surrounding areas that serve as bedroom communities for resort areas such as Leaville and Lake County.

Mountain resort communities can expect more Front Range visitors in addition to growing resident populations. 80 percent of the anticipated growth to 7.8 million by the year 2040 is expected to occur in Metro Denver.


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