Colorado’s largest metro areas, with the exception of Colorado Springs, will see job and GDP growth slow this year.
Colorado’s largest metro areas will see both job and GDP growth slow this year, with the exception of Colorado Springs, according to an annual forecast from the U. S. Conference of Mayors.
The Fort Collins area, which includes all of Larimer County, will be the state’s top performer, with metro GDP growth of 4 percent and job growth of 2.4 percent in 2016.
Thatwould rank Fort Collins 14th for economic growth and 47th for job growth among the 381 cities and metro areas tracked in the forecast prepared by IHS Global Services.
Metro Denver will match Fort Collins with 2.4 percent job growth but will lag slightly with a 3.7 percent gain in its GDP. Denver ranks 54th for job growth and 27th for economic growth in the IHS forecast.
With its metro GDP projected to reach $ 205.4 billion, Denver’s economy is nearly 13 times as large as Fort Collins’, which is at $ 16.2 billion.
Greeley, whose metro area includes all of Weld County, represents an anomaly — it will maintain strong job gains in the face of a shrinking economy.
Greeley is projected to increase jobs at a 3
percent pace in 2016, the 15th- fastest rate nationally. But its metro GDP is expected to shrink 0.2 percent on an inflationadjusted basis this year, according to IHS.
How is that? With oil and gas and other commodities, a drop in price can cause the value of output to drop even if the overall volume stays the same or rises.
Despite the slump in oil and gas prices last year, Greeley added jobs at a 5.2 percent pace, the report estimates. That was third- best, behind Provo, Utah, and California’s Silicon Valley.
Many energy firms have resisted letting go of workers as they hang on for a rebound. Weld County has managed to win out over other areas in the fight for shrinking drilling budgets.
But with oil prices bouncing around the $ 30 range, the questions of how long that can continue are on the rise.
Colorado Springs is the only metro area in the state expected to see stronger job growth this year than last, to 1.6 percent from 1.4 percent.
GDP there is expected to grow3 percent to $ 31.7 billion. Pueblo, to the south, also should grow GDP at a similar pace, although its rate of job growth will slow to 1.1 percent from1.7 percent.
The worst- of- bothworlds award goes to Grand Junction, which IHS predicts will have some of the slowest job and economic growth anywhere in the country this year.
The hub of the Western Slope region will rank 272nd for job growth, with a modest 0.6 percent gain, down from 1.1 percent in 2015.
Things are even bleaker when it comes to GDP growth, which is expected to increase a paltry 0.4 percent. That would rank 360th, putting Grand Junction on par both size- and performancewise with Albany, Ga.