After a modest rebound following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, employment gains stalled in November and December, according to a new report from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and University of Colorado Leeds Business Research Division economists.
“The level of unemployment in our state remains a concern,” Griswold said Friday during a media event following the release of Colorado’s Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report.
The reversal of employment growth dragged Colorado down from the nation’s third lowest rate in February to the fourth highest at the end of the year, according to Griswold.
The state lost 342,700 jobs between February and April and added 216,500 between May and October. But in November and December, Colorado lost 25,000 jobs.
The state posted a worrisome 8.4% unemployment rate in December.
Unsurprisingly, the hospitality industry was among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in many restaurants closing at least briefly and all restaurants suffering through capacity restrictions.
Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of the Leeds Business Research Division, said he expects the road to full employment recovery to be a long one but there is reason to be optimistic.
Despite the recovery slowdown, Griswold said it is “still reasonable” to expect that Colorado will add as many as 40,000 jobs in 2021.
The Secretary of State’s office saw 34,630 groups file paperwork in December to launch business or nonprofit organizations. That’s up 22.1% year-over-year, but a decrease of 10.5% from the previous quarter.
Colorado saw 134,373 initial filings over the last year.
A total of 148,019 entities filed for renewal in the fourth quarter of last year, a 1.5% increase year-over-year. For the year, renewals were up 7%.
“Entities in good standing continued the upward climb, being only briefly interrupted by the pandemic in March. Delinquencies also increased for the quarter,” according to the report.
While new business filings were up, so were dissolutions. A total of 10,043 businesses dissolved in the fourth quarter, up 8.1% from the previous year and a 18.7% increase from Q3.
“Coloradans have been through a lot in the past year,” Griswold said. “We’ve faced challenges and hardships that were unthinkable a year ago at this time, yet we still persevere.”
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