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Economic slowdown could arrive a bit sooner than some Colorado economist predicted

BOULDER — The good news? Colorado’s economy is still growing. The bad? A slowdown that University of Colorado Boulder Leeds Business Research Division thought was likely to occur in late 2023 may be upon us already. 

The state’s economy was “growing but slowing” in the first quarter of 2023, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Thursday when she presented the findings of Colorado’s Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report, compiled by her office and the Leeds BRD. The “upward trajectory” persisted in the Centennial State, “even as economic uncertainty gripped much of the nation.”

Griswold’s office recorded 55,787 new-entity filings, up 27.6% year-over-year and good for the busiest quarter on record.

The indicators report speculated that a “credit that reduced limited liability filing fees to $1 contributed to the surge in filings.”

On the other hand, dissolutions of business entities also reached a record-high of 13,999 in the first quarter of 2023, up 9.1% from the same period last year.

Renewals of existing entities moved modestly upward (1.2% year over year) to 194,062 in the most-recent quarter.

“The labor market, while still strong, is signaling a slowdown ahead,” Rich Wobbekind, senior economist and BRD faculty director, said in a prepared statement. “Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for March 2023 showed employment growth in the nation decelerated from January to February, adding 236,000 jobs — the lowest number of jobs added in two years.”

A general slowdown, but not screeching halt, in the Colorado economy is “something that we’ve been expecting over the last few quarters,” said Brian Lewandowski, executive director of the Leed’s Business Research Division. The most-recent period represents “somewhat of a disappointing quarter” because economists had hoped that strong momentum would last at least into the second half of 2023. 

Still, there’s reason for tempered optimism among some sectors of the economy such as consumer spending, he said. Certain metrics “should logically point to a slowdown in consumption,” but that hasn’t really happened much yet.

Source: BizWest