New businesses opening in Colorado, but at a slowing pace

Richard Wobbekind
Richard Wobbekind
Jena Griswold
Jena Griswold

New businesses continue to open in Colorado, but at a slower pace, according to the latest analysis of business filings in the state.

For the first quarter of this year, 35,838 new entity filings were recorded with the secretary of state’s office. The half percent gain over the same quarter last year was the smallest since 2015.

A total of 159,746 existing entity renewals were recorded during the first quarter of 2019, a 7.6 percent increase over the first quarter of 2018 that portends employment growth.

At 9,775, dissolution filings were up 14.1 percent compared to a year ago, however.

Over the year ending with the first quarter of 2019, 126,914 new entity filings were recorded, a 5 percent increase over the prior year. A total of 563,490 existing entity renewals were recorded, a 7.4 percent increase.

The research division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder prepares quarterly reports on business filings based on information from the secretary of state’s office.

“Annual growth in filings aligns well with the overall growth we continue to see in the Colorado economy. As well, the slowing growth of new filings registered in Q1 is consistent with other slowing economic variables,” said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the division.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold said she was encouraged by gains in new entity filings and existing entity renewals. Moreover, the total number of entities in good standing climbed to a record 718,161 in the first quarter, a 6 percent increase over the past year. “This indicates that the business environment in Colorado remains stable, and we are well-positioned to maintain our status as one of the leading state economies nationally,” she said.

Wobbekind said the Colorado economy ranked among the top 10 in the third quarter of 2018 with 3.8 percent year-over-year growth in gross domestic product, the broad measure of goods and services produced in the state. As of March 2019, nonfarm payrolls in Colorado had increased 45,100 over the past year, a 1.7 percent gain.

Building permits increased eight-tenths of a percent, but the first two months of 2019 marked a 30 percent decrease from the same period in 2018.

The latest results of a quarterly survey indicate Colorado business leaders remain upbeat, but less so than in recent years. The Leeds Business Confidence Index fell to 50.1 for the first quarter of 2019. That’s 4.5 points lower than the fourth quarter of 2018 and the lowest reading since 2011. Still, readings above 50 reflect more positive than negative responses.