Business filings portend job growth in Colorado

Richard Wobbekind
Richard Wobbekind
Wayne Williams
Wayne Williams

Employment will continue to grow in Colorado in the first half of 2017, although at a slower pace, according to the latest analysis of business filings in the state.

Disparities between rural and urban areas of Colorado persist, however.

“Growth in business filings is consistent with overall population and employment growth that we are seeing in Colorado. It appears that the energy sector will be less of a drag on growth compared to the past two years,” said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the research division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The division prepares quarterly reports based on information from the Colorado secretary of state’s office about new businesses registering with the office and existing businesses renewing their paperwork.

According to information for the fourth quarter of 2016, 24,763 new business filings were posted. That’s a 6.3 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2015. For all of 2016, 109,526 new filings were posted, an increase of 6.7 percent over 2015.

There were 119,240 renewals for existing businesses during the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 4.7 over the same period in 2015. For all of 2016, there were 487,592 renewals. That’s a gain of 5.2 percent over 2015.

The number of business entities in good standing similarly increased for 2016 — at 636,760, an increase of 5.8 percent over 2015.

According to the results of a separate survey conducted by the Leeds School of Business, confidence among business leaders in Colorado also increased ahead of the first half of 2017, with 60 percent of those who responded to the survey expecting moderate or strong increases in the economy.

Still, the Colorado Department of Labor reported that employment in the majority of rural counties in Colorado remains below peak levels, while employment in the majority of metropolitan statistical areas in the state has reached peak levels.

The Colorado real estate market continues to outpace national growth, although the number of building permits issued in the state has yet to return to pre-recession levels.

“Steady, year-over-year improvement in Colorado’s economic indicators leaves me optimistic about 2017,” said Wayne Williams, Colorado secretary of state. “To see state business leaders share in my optimism is also encouraging for Colorado.”