Tracking Economic Recovery

It’s time again for our monthly update to the Economic Tracker.  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 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:

  • Unemployment continues to decline and has reached the level of what is considered full employment (4 to 5%). It has not yet returned to the super low levels of 2019.
  • The civilian labor force is larger than it was, on average, in 2019 in both counties.
  • Job posting activity is much higher now than it was in 2019. There are about 2 job postings for every 1 unemployed person.
    (Note: there was a methodology change in the data source so the scale and volume of job postings changed somewhat this month.)
  • The number of jobs in Northern Colorado is still 2.6% lower than the 2019 average, which is 7,500 jobs. The state of Colorado has just about recovered to its 2019 level of employment – it is only off 400 jobs. In Northern Colorado:
    • The sectors with the largest number of jobs lost are (1) mining, logging, and construction (Weld County); (2) state government (in particular education – Weld County); and (3) leisure and hospitality (both counties)
    • The top gainers-with gains in Weld higher than Larimer: (1) professional and business services; (2) retail trade; (3) wholesale trade
  • Larimer County has continued to have very strong growth in the average hourly earnings while Weld County has continued on a downward trajectory.
  • Retail sales are 20+% above 2019 levels – this is reflective of changes in prices, volumes, as well as the mix of goods and services purchased.  We are working to understand the impact of higher cost of goods on these numbers.
  • Community mobility to retail and recreation places, on average, is down slightly off the baseline while workplace mobility is down quite a bit more, especially in Larimer County.
  • Hotel Occupancy and RevPAR are at or above 2019 levels in most Northern Colorado markets. Visitation to Rocky Mountain National Park has returned to higher-than-2019 levels now that the reservation system has lifted.
  • The median home prices continue to climb in both Larimer and Weld Counties.
  • Commercial vacancy rates remain quite high in comparison to 2019 for all three product types (retail, office, industrial) in both counties with the exception of retail space in Larimer County. Though vacancy is much higher than it was pre-Pandemic, it is still fairly low considering all of the vacancy rates are less than 10%.

Check out the Economic Tracker on NoCoRecovers.com to dive deeper into these observations.


Written by Ann Hutchison, President & CEO

February 8, 2022
For comments and questions about this blog, please email Ann at ahutchison@fcchamber.org.