At January’s luncheon, we had a panel of economic experts who shared insights about Colorado and the current trends affecting our economy. Elizabeth Garner, Colorado State Demographer, spoke to us about aging and the characteristics of our population. Her co-panelist, Patti Silverstein, Chief Economist focusing on RE analysis and economic development research, planning and community development, talked about cycles affecting Metro Denver’s economic forecast for this year. Both of our panelists provided valuable insights into what 2018 is going to hold and how the changes might affect our industries as a whole.

Growing Colorado: Population Transitions

Top transitions to watch this year:

  1. Different growth patterns across the state
  2. Continued migration
  3. Aging
  4. Changes to industries
  5. Increasing racial and ethnic population

Cycles: 2018 Economic Forecast for Metro Denver

Currently, Colorado is in the 3rd largest expansion in our history. In 2018, we are expected to add 505,000 jobs statewide and 31,400 jobs in Metro Denver.

The key Metro Denver and Northern Colorado industry clusters are:

  1. Aerospace: 4.5 times higher than the national average – we have the 2nd largest space economy
  2. Aviation
  3. Beverage Production: breweries, coffee, dairy
  4. Bioscience: medical devices and diagnostics, pharmacology and biotechnology
  5. Communications
  6. Energy
  7. Financial Services
  8. Healthcare and Wellness: with 215,000 is currently our largest industry
  9. IT/Software: we saw a 9.5% increase in this industry in 2016-most are located in downtown Denver and Boulder

The commercial real estate market is still in full swing. In 2017, there was just under 10 million square feet of space added. In downtown Denver, another 5 million square feet of office space is still currently under construction. Office vacancy rates were 9.8%; industrial and retail vacancy rates were both 4.3%.

Overall, increases in population bring about many other issues: water, housing, infrastructure, transportation, state budget/policy, increased risks, and national policies to name a few. There are constant challenges with the ability to find qualified workers in our major industries, global political uncertainty and rising interest rates. Economic downturns do not happen just because the economy gets tired. There are many other factors at work and the overall changes to the retail, manufacturing, and construction spaces will continue to change our economy and the nations’.

This event was brought to you by the Programs Committee.

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Write up by Debbie Reece, CPSM