Increase in Colorado business filings portends job growth

Employment is expected to continue to grow in Colorado throughout 2017, based on the latest analysis of an increase in business filings in the state.

Gains will be concentrated in urban areas, though, as rural areas continue to experience slow job growth.

The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado prepares quarterly reports based on information from the Colorado secretary of state’s office about new businesses registering with the office and existing business renewing registrations.

According to information for the first quarter of 2017, 32,450 new business filings were recorded in Colorado. That’s an increase of 31 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 and a 9.3 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016.

There were 139,876 renewals for existing businesses during the first quarter of 2017. That’s a 17.3 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2016 and 7.7 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016.

The number of business entities in good standing in Colorado also increased — at 637,373 a 6.1 percent increase over last year.

According to the latest estimates from the Colorado Department of Labor, the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged in February at 2.9 percent, the lowest level in 16 years. Over the past year, the statewide jobless rate has slipped four-tenths of a point as nonfarm payrolls have grown 50,300. Employment continues to slow or fall in rural areas of the state, however.

In Mesa County, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate retreated a half point from what’s typically a seasonal spike in January to 5.3 percent in February. Over the past year, Mesa County payrolls have edged up 296, but the overall labor force declined 480.

The Leeds School of Business reported that its Leeds Business Confidence Index climbed to 63.4 for the second quarter of 2017, up 3.1 points from the first quarter of 2017 and eight points from the second quarter of 2016. The index is based on quarterly surveys of business leaders across the state.

The reading for hiring, one of six metrics the index tracks, rose 2.2 points for the second quarter of 2017 with 50.6 percent of business leaders expecting moderate to strong increases.