By Audrey Jensen
The outlook for Colorado Springs is positive, and will continue in this direction, based on the information presented at the 21st annual UCCS Economic Forum on Sept. 29 at the Antlers Hotel.
Updates on global, national, state and local economic statistics were presented to guests from speakers Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo, Michael Serio, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo and Tatiana Bailey, director of the forum.
Master of the ceremonies, Samuel Elliott, co-founder of Tejon Technologies, introduced UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy and Eric Olson, interim dean of the UCCS College of Business to kickoff the presentation.
Additional videos featuring Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Chamber and EDC Chief Economic Development Officer Hannah Parsons, Greg Phillips, Colorado Springs Airport aviation director and other community leaders were presented with comments about issues and information on the local economy.
Davidson and Serio, who each gave a report emphasizing national and international statistics on the economy, presented the keynote address.
Bailey presented the outlook for Colorado’s economy with statistics on major industries in the state and the Pikes Peak region including workforce, education, real estate, tourism and demographics.
In 12 counties across the Front Range, 55,165 new jobs were added in 2016. Of this number, Colorado Springs MSA added 7,742 jobs, or 13.3 percent of the Colorado’s new jobs.
In the tech industry, El Paso County saw 214 new businesses form in 2016.
Colorado also saw a 7.3 increase of new business entities in 12 months ending in June with a total of 113,949 new businesses.
“[Colorado] is a pretty good place to have a business,” Bailey said.
To match the current population growth, Colorado Springs will need to add 5,400 jobs since 2016, Bailey said.
Future projections for El Paso County were also presented by Bailey, who added that 400,621 people are expected to move into the region by the year 2050.
“By the time we get to 2050 we’ll be highly diverse,” Bailey said, adding that Colorado will see an increase in minorities.
The fastest growing industries in Colorado as of 2016 for employment were agriculture, health care and social assistance, and construction.
Bailey also discussed Colorado’s unemployment rate, which was 2.2 percent as of August, compared to the nation’s overall 4.5 percent unemployment.
Future forecasts for 2018 say that Colorado’s unemployment rate will increase to 3 percent while the U.S. rate will decrease to 4.4 percent.
According to Bailey, in-migration to Colorado will continue as long as the difference between Colorado and the U.S. unemployment rates is at least 1 percent.
For the last part of the event, Davidson, Bailey and Serio answered audience questions as a panel.
These presentations, reports and more information can be found online at uccseconomicforum.com.