In 2021, inflation in the Denver metropolitan area was the highest it’s ever been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking it in 1986. The largest two-month period of inflation occurred in late spring and a resurgence at the end of the year through January added an additional 2.6%.
Colorado added 9,000 jobs in December and November jobs were revised upwards by 5,000. The combined growth over the last two months of 2021 of 23,100 jobs presents a stark contrast to the prior year, when the two months combined for 25,500 job losses.
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.
Despite concerns of rising inflation and a new COVID-19 variant, November job growth in Colorado remained relatively strong at 9,800 jobs. This is above the monthly average job growth needed to fully recover to a pre-pandemic employment-to-population ratio by 2023.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and trillions of dollars of pandemic relief spending by the federal government, the rate of inflation in the U.S. has grown sharply in 2021 and become one of the most-discussed economic issues of the day. High inflation levels erode savings and increase the costs of daily commutes, groceries, and other consumer goods.
Driven by labor shortages and increased employment opportunities, job growth in October surged to its highest monthly amount since July. Labor force participation of mothers during the pandemic lagged consistently up until September. Their overall participation rate in October remained higher than pre-pandemic levels for the second straight month.
Although September job growth was lower than what is needed to achieve a full recovery by January 2023, adjusted for population growth, Colorado reached an important recovery milestone last month. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the labor force participation rate for Colorado mothers exceeded its pre-pandemic level.
In April 2020, Colorado lost over 360,000 jobs, experienced the worst month of economic performance in its history, and launched into a deep and abiding recession. A little over a year later, the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that, though Colorado’s workforce has already endured the worst of the recession and is ahead of pace to recover fully by 2023, much progress remains to be made.
This November, Denver voters face two ballot measures related to homelessness: Initiated Ordinance 303: “Let’s Do Better” and Referred Question 2B: Denver Housing and Sheltering System Bonds as part of the RISE GO Bond.