Making Good Decisions with Data

Data, data, data.  Much of my work the last week has centered around the idea that good data allows business owners and policy makers to make good decisions.

Your Fort Collins Area Chamber, working with other economic development and business support organizations across the region created a tool to track the economic recovery in Northern Colorado. This valuable resource is a set of indicators that represent critical aspects of the Larimer and Weld County economies, is based on data that is accessible in a useable format and is updated frequently with little lag time. The Economic Tracker lives on our one-stop hub and provides great insight into the impact of the pandemic and recession on Northern Colorado.

The most recent update to the Tracker includes the following insights from our Economic Analyst, Caroline Alexander:

  • Larimer County has recovered its Pandemic job losses and is experiencing an extremely tight labor market, with more than 4 job postings for every 1 unemployed person. As a result, average hourly earnings have climbed 30% over the 2019 average. Inflation, as evidenced by the wage growth and accelerating housing costs, remains a threat to the area’s economic expansion, but things are not slowing down yet.
  • Weld County is struggling to recover from its Pandemic-induced recession. Employment in the mining, logging, and construction sector, which is the county’s largest industry sector, remains 20 percent less than what it was in February 2020. Its manufacturing sector has also been hard hit. As a result, the Weld County labor market is a bit softer and wages have remained flat. Although it continues to make progress towards recovery, it lags Larimer County and the State of Colorado on just about every indicator. Inflation, uncertainty in the oil & gas sector, and supply chain issues remain a threat to this fragile recovery.


It’s the season of anniversaries!  Congratulations to Digital Workshop Center on their 16th Anniversary and to Houska Automotive on their 70th Anniversary!  Both of these businesses are part of our fabric of community in Fort Collins.

Digital Workshop opens doors for community members to grow and improve their lives towards more meaningful careers. Now operating in 12 states as a trade school, DWC is making an impact to more students in unemployment, more students with disabilities, and more veterans than ever before.  Through new partnerships this year with non-profits like the Cultural Enrichment Center DWC will be able to make an even bigger impact on underserved young people’s lives looking to explore tech careers.  With the launch of a new micro-internship program, DWC will continue to find new ways to provide real-world experience to go along with the skills-based education they receive at graduation.

Houska Automotive is a family business, celebrating three generations providing oil changes and auto repair services.  As LJ Houska shared at their Business of the Month celebration this morning, they provide services to everything from a Peterbuilt to a Prius.  In addition to amazing customer service and a focus on quality work, Houska is a key community builder.  They believe that this community is their home and are dedicated to making sure that their neighbors are being transported in a vehicle that is safe, reliable and in good, running condition.  As well, Houska Automotive has created a 70-year legacy of serving Northern Colorado through various events, sponsorships and fundraisers including 22 years of the Houska Houska, 10 years of a Garage Band Series and now their 70th Anniversary Celebration.  Houska Automotive is making a difference in the lives of cancer patients, bone marrow recipients and the UCHealth Family Medicine Center food pantry.

Thank you to both of these fantastic businesses for making Fort Collins your home

Ann Hutchison, President & CEO

July 19, 2022
For comments and questions about this blog, please email Ann at [email protected]