Dec 4, 2023 - News

Slowing and uneven job growth in the 2024 forecast for Colorado

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Colorado's economy will add jobs in 2024, albeit unevenly and more moderately than this year, a new forecast suggests.

Driving the news: The Colorado Business Economic Outlook released Monday projects the state will add 41,900 new jobs next year — a 1.4% increase — marking the slowest pace since 2011, the Denver Post reports.

Why it matters: Challenges such as inflation, high interest rates, worker shortages and a drop in consumer spending are predicted to persist next year, hitting some industries harder than others.

What they're saying: "While inflation eased in 2023, it continues to be at the forefront of economic headwinds in Colorado and the nation," researchers at the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business wrote in the report.

  • Interest rates and the health of the economy "will be intrinsically linked," the report's authors added.

By the numbers: Employment growth in Colorado is projected in seven of its 11 major industries in 2024. The professional and business services industry is likely to see the most significant gains next year, adding about 14,500 jobs.

  • The government sector — the state's largest job creator this year — is expected to have the next-largest jump, with an increase of 10,900 employment opportunities. Many of those jobs will be spurred by new programs under Colorado's labor and health departments.

The other side: The construction industry is projected to shed the most jobs in 2024, with a decline of about 2,300. Economists blame rising interest rates, which have slowed demand for single-family houses.

  • Manufacturing jobs also could take a significant blow, losing about 1,400 due to high interest rates and shifting consumer behavior, plus drought and water challenges, the report indicates.

What we're watching: The Federal Reserve's two-year interest rate hiking campaign may be reaching its end, Axios' Neil Irwin reports.

  • Investors and analysts are growing confident that the Fed will enter rate-cutting mode relatively soon — with many now betting on a policy pivot in the first half of 2024.
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