Due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state government’s policy responses, Colorado’s unemployment levels spiked in early 2020 and caused the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to become deeply insolvent. Now, the Trust Fund is projected to remain insolvent until the 2024 fiscal year.
PERA’s current unfunded liability is $31 billion. This is one indicator of PERA’s funding status as it measures the difference between projected benefit demands, and the assets (current fund balance + future expected returns) that have been collected to cover those benefits.
Colorado’s robust economy has added 391,300 jobs since April 2020, eclipsing the 374,500 jobs the state lost in March and April 2020. This represents a recovery rate of 104.5 percent which is 11.6 percentage points higher than the nationwide recovery rate of 92.9.
Inflation in the Denver metropolitan area continues to run hot, particularly for housing. Overall price levels increased 2% between January and March and 9.1% over the last 12 months. The BLS reports housing inflation of 7.9%, but home prices (not a component of CPI) have increased 20.8% YoY through January 2021.
Although the Opioid Crisis has been an ongoing public health issue since the late 1990’s, Colorado’s policymakers, law enforcement, district attorneys, addiction rehab advocates, and researchers have recently narrowed their focus on Schedule II Controlled Substances and more specifically, fentanyl.
As the Colorado General Assembly nears completion of the state budget there is little doubt that the decisions they make will impact Colorado’s economy for years to come. Known by insiders as the “long bill,” the state budget has passed the State House and is currently being debated by the State Senate.