Spring 2020 Regional Economic Update

Spring 2020

Regional Economic Update 

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, Q3 2019. The data are lagged by 6 months.  Labor Force data comes from the most recent data available, which is February 2020. So, the data presented in this quarterly report reflects conditions which existed six months ago for jobs & wages, and 2 months ago for labor force.  This was a very robust time in our regional economy where consumer confidence was high, we were experiencing a record number of visitors to our communities, sales tax collections were setting records, travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 was setting records, and unemployment was at record lows.  So, as you can imagine, when this report is presented again in six months, things will look drastically different.
Having pointed that out, here is a summary of our region’s economic picture in Q3 2019:
  • Total Jobs: 80,168
  • Annual Average Wage:
    • Eagle County:  $48,516
    • Grand County:  $38,866
    • Jackson County:  $40,092
    • Pitkin County:  $52,572
    • Summit County:  $44,252
  • Regional Unemployment Rate (Feb. 2020): 2.0%
  • % 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.
NWCCOG presents this data so that our regional stakeholders can measure economic activity at a point in time, as well as how this data changes over time.  We will need to prepare ourselves for possibly shocking data as we move forward through the worst of this economic crisis. This data, representing the third quarter of 2019 (July, August September) can be used as a baseline when measuring how well we weather this economic storm.  It also may shed some light on how resilient our regional economy is to weather future economic crises. Some things of note:
  • 27% of our region’s jobs are in the Accommodations & Food Service industry. This industry will be one of the hardest hit due to COVID-19, as most of our restaurants and lodging businesses have been forced to close during this public health crisis. Visit the Northwest SBDC Website for a clearinghouse of resources for small businesses. This site is updated continuously, so check back often.
  • Our economy is heavily dependent on tourism (accommodations & food services, arts, entertainment, recreation, retail sub-sectors). Tourism relies on large numbers of visitors coming into our towns to spend discretionary money on activities, events, dining out, live entertainment, and outdoor recreation.  This will continue to be the mainstay of our economy,but how sustainable is it? This may be a great time for our regional leaders to start looking at ways to diversify our economy beyond tourism in order to prepare our region to be more sustainable and resilient to future economic storms such as the one we are experiencing right now.
  • How do we come back stronger? What are lessons learned? What new ways of doing business have emerged during this pause in our economy that are more effective, efficient? Perhaps we should keep doing them even when the worst of this is over, and our economy is back open for business.
Please reach out with any questions about this data, or if you have a specific data request. Stay safe, and stay home.
Rachel Lunney
Director, Economic Development
970.468.0295 x106