Survey: Projected West Slope pay increases lowest in state

Phil Castle
Phil Castle

Phil Castle, The Business Times

As a group, employers in Western Colorado expect to increase their wages proportionally less in 2017 than employers in other areas of the state, according to the latest results of an annual survey.

West Slope employers responding to a survey conducted by the Mountain States Employers Council said they plan to increase wages on average 2.5 percent next year.

Employers in resort areas of Colorado anticipated the largest pay hike at 3.3 percent, followed by employers in Colorado Springs, the Denver area and Northern Colorado at 2.8 percent and Pueblo at 2.7 percent. The projected statewide increase for 2017 came in at 2.8 percent.

Sue Wolf, director of surveys for the Mountain States Employer Council, attributed part of the difference between Western Colorado and other regions to the effects of low commodity prices on the oil and natural gas industry that in turn have suppressed salary increases in that sector.

At 2.5 percent, the projected pay increase for Western Colorado employers for 2017 inched up from the 2.4 percent increase projected for 2016, but came in below the 2.7 percent hike forecast for 2015, Wolf said.

With offices in Arizona, Colorado and Utah, the  Mountain States Employers Council offers a variety of services to its 3,750 employer members. The annual compensation survey enables members to compare their wages against the marketplace, Wolf said.

The Mountain States Employers Council has scheduled a benefit update conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.  July 26 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. in Grand Junction. For more information, log on to the Web site at

Since wages generally tend to correlate with business conditions, the overall results of the latest survey signal Colorado employers remain mostly upbeat, Wolf said.

In addition to regional differences in the latest survey results, there were differences among industry sectors. For employers in the Denver metro area, the largest wage increases for 2017 were projected for the finance and real estate industry at 3.5 percent. Employers in the oil and natural gas industry expect to increase pay 1.8 percent.