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Colorado’s employment expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to CBEO report

Those who are in the hospitality industry say they are excited that people are traveling more now, but they have run into two problems: a shortage of employees and a lack of job applicants.
Posted at 11:55 AM, Dec 06, 2021

DENVER – Employment across the state is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 but industries like leisure and hospitality are projected to take longer to recover, according to the Colorado Business Economic Outlook.

The yearly forecast, compiled by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds Business Research Division, also shows the state’s employment is expected to remain above average, but the state will likely fall out of the top ten states for employment growth. The CBEO projects Colorado will regain 73,900 jobs (2.7%) in 2021, effectively recouping total jobs lost due to the pandemic recession.

“We forecast employment numbers to grow in all 11 industries in 2022, but the hole left by the COVID-19 pandemic in the leisure and hospitality industry is huge,” said Richard Wobbekind, senior economist at the Leeds School of Business. “We don’t anticipate the leisure and hospitality industry to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 or 2024.”

The projects do show, however, that despite the slower growth for the leisure and hospitality industry, both industries will add about 31,700 jobs.

The natural resources and mining industry in Colorado, also heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, is projected to add about 600 jobs for the first time in two years, according to the report.

Manufacturing, data centers and hosting, biopharmaceuticals, aerospace, warehousing and storage are also expected grow in 2022 as the state’s population continues to grow, with an estimated additional 61,000 people according to the State Demography Office. An estimated 40,000 people will come from net in-migration.

Alongside the population growth, construction in the state’s housing industry is expected to continue to boom, with another 48,000 single family and multifamily residential units are projected to be added in the state in 2022, the report shows, though it warned supply chain woes, inflation and labor shortages are also expected to impact other industries in the state.

To view the full 2022 Colorado Business Economic Outlook, click here.