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New stats point to best job growth in Colorado Springs in nine years

If anticipated revisions to job-growth numbers in the Colorado Springs area hold up, city boosters may soon be getting out the party hats and popping Champagne corks.

According to the latest estimates from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, released Wednesday, local employment is growing at its fastest rate in nearly nine years.

Specifically, local payrolls grew by 3 percent in March from a year earlier, the fastest growth rate since June 2006, according to estimates made by Alexandra Hall, the department’s chief economist. Her estimates won’t be confirmed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics until March 2016, when the agency completes is annual revision process. The revision replaces estimates from monthly surveys of a small group of employers with data from unemployment insurance reports that most employers submit quarterly — and Hall thinks the local numbers will hold up.

“Colorado Springs, particularly over the past year or so, has seen a consistently strengthening economy,” Hall said. “I don’t expect to see as much impact on the Colorado Springs economy from the slowing in the oil and gas industry that we will see in the rest of the state.”

In related news, Colorado jobs OK during O&G budget cuts.

Hall’s calculations came from data that cover the final three months of 2014. She expects the data to also trigger an upward revision in the area’s fourth-quarter payroll growth rate, to a 2.5 percent rate from 1.9 percent.

The bureau’s April payroll data for the Springs area shows job growth of 2.1 percent. But Hall expects that rate to be revised upward to 2.9 percent as part of the annual process.

Much of the area’s fourth- quarter job gains came from the health care and social assistance sector, which grew by 5.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to employ 35,838. The 1,836 new jobs in that sector accounted for nearly 30 percent of the 6,143 jobs added throughout the local economy in the quarter.

Other big gains in the fourth quarter came in the tourism, construction and professional and technical services industries. Hall expects upward revisions in job growth rates in four of the state’s six other metropolitan areas: Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. Greeley and Pueblo likely will see downward revisions, she said.

After the expected revisions, the job growth rate for the Springs area would fall in the middle of the seven metro areas — ahead of Boulder, Grand Junction and Pueblo but behind Denver, Fort Collins and Greeley.


This article was written by WAYNE HEILMAN from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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