Regional Economic Report from Northwest Colorado Council of Governments

NWCCOG produces a regional economic report every quarter based on the most recent data available. For this report, jobs & wage data comes from the most recently released Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages, Q4 2019. The data are lagged by 6 months.  Labor Force data comes from the most recent data available, which is April 2020. So, it is important to note that the data presented in this quarterly report reflects conditions which existed six months ago for jobs & wages (Oct. – Dec., 2019) – i.e Pre-COVID, and 2 months ago for labor force – during COVID.  So, as you can imagine, when this report is presented again in three months, things will look drastically different in terms of jobs numbers.
Having pointed that out, here is a summary of our region’s economic picture in Q4 2019:
  • Total Jobs: 79,939 (-229 from Q3/2019)
  • Annual Average Wage:
    • Eagle County:  $52,780
    • Grand County:  $40,976
    • Jackson County:  $42,068
    • Pitkin County:  $59,800
    • Summit County:  $44,368
  • Regional Unemployment Rate (April 2020): 21%
  • % of all jobs in region with fewer than 10 employees:  80%
The full report contains detailed information on each of our 5 counties. It also can be found on the NWCCOGEDD website here.
Its no surprise, the big unfortunate news is the shocking unemployment rate.  The region overall is reporting an unemployment rate of 21% for April 2020. The last time this report was published, we reported an unemployment rate of just 2% (Feb. 2020).  This 21% is compared to Colorado at 12% and the U.S. at 14.7%.
The main underlying cause of this is the heavy dominance of one industry: Tourism.  Tourism jobs account for upwards of 33% of all jobs in some of our region’s counties (Summit county is at 33%; Eagle County 22%; Grand and Pitkin Counties 24%). Summit County has 7,300 jobs in the accommodations & food service industry. With lodging, restaurants, large gatherings and events shut down, our region’s economy has been particularly hard hit.  Jackson County has fared the best, reporting an 18% unemployment rate, due to its more diversified economy (public administration is the largest sector in Jackson County followed by Ag, Forestry and Fishing.).   The question now is: how do we come back stronger? How do we diversity our economy to be more resilient to future economic shocks? How do we take advantage of what we have learned through this crisis as a region?
Please reach out with any questions about this data, or if you have a specific data request.
Rachel Lunney
Director, Economic Development
office 970.468.0295 x106