Colorado economy tops U.S.

August 21, 2014

KUSA-TV 9NEWS

Three-hundred days of sunshine a year is enough to convince many Coloradans that this state is the best place to live. But a recent study cites several economic factors that make Colorado more fiscally appealing than any other state.

MSN Money published the ranked list on its website. The study comes from Business Leader. It looked at the following factors when considering the top economy in the U.S.: the working age population, home prices, value of international exports, auto sales, home sales, wages, nonfarm payroll jobs and the gross domestic product. The study weighed how much each indicator grew or shrunk in the past year.

Colorado ranked in the top 10 in five of the categories. Our state ranked in the top 15 in the rest of the categories.

“We have a lot of really good things happening in Colorado. We’re firing on every engine,” said Dr. Sharon Lassar, who is director of the School of Accountancy at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.

Lassar is not surprised that our state’s economy ranked number one. She says our housing market has made a full recovery. And the state is attracting many young, educated workers, which caused the working-age population (age 18-64) to grow by 1.2%.

“Our largest cohort is 25 to 29 in Colorado. And we have 372,000 workers in that age group. And that’s very attractive to business. Business wants to be where there is a young, educated workforce. And our workforce, overall, is younger than most of the country.”

Lassar says, because of that, a number of businesses are choosing to relocate or build new offices in Colorado. She also cites the energy industry as a big factor.

“It’s not just the green energy. But the traditional sources of energy that we really benefit from in Colorado,” she said.

Another sort of green industry is also having an economic impact.

“We have an economist here at DU who has studied it. And, yes, it is a source of economic activity,” Lassar said.

The study also cited Colorado’s higher-than-average wages as a reason for its strong economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, five states in Colorado have an average weekly wage that is higher than the national average. Bureau figures show the average U.S. weekly wage is $1,000, while the average weekly wage in Denver County is $1,224.