Colorado business index slips, but still forecasts growth

Ernie Goss

A monthly index tracking business conditions in Colorado has retreated for a third straight month, but still forecasts growth with hiring in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

The Business Conditions Index slipped four-tenths in August, but at 53.8 remains above the level projecting an expanding economy over the next three to six months.

“Energy extraction firms have added significantly to their work force, gaining back the jobs lost to the recession. Durable goods manufacturers in the state benefiting from exports continue to expand in the state, adding jobs for new workers and increases in work hours for current employees,” said Ernie Goss, director of the Goss Institute for Economic Research in Denver.

Goss calculates the Business Conditions Index for the mountain states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming based on the results of monthly surveys of supply managers in the three states. Readings range from 0 to 100.

Readings above 50 forecast expanding conditions.

With declines in each of the last three months, the index in Colorado has dropped to its lowest level of the year. At this time last year, the index was slightly lower, though, at an even 53.

The overall index reflects lower component readings for new orders at 54 and production or sales at 50.6. The reading for employment, however, rose 1.4 points to 68.5.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Colorado held steady at 8.5 percent in July, the latest month for which estimates are available. Nonfarm payrolls grew 3,200 in July and 18,600 over the past year.

The combined Business Conditions Index for the mountain states slipped six-tenths in August, but at 56.8 remains above growth-neutral 50 for a 24th consecutive month.