Colorado

State shines in two economic reports

Not good enough, says Beauprez campaign

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Colorado's economic outlook is bright, as is indicated by two business reports that were released last week.

The state's unemployment rate ticked down slightly in July, and Colorado experienced its 33rd consecutive month of job gains.

And, on the heels of those statistics, a business website ranked Colorado number one on its list of state economies.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper greeted the economic news with tempered optimism.

“While our economy continues to be recognized as the fastest-growing in the nation, we know there is still much work to be done,” the governor said through an emailed statement. “We are focused on ensuring we foster a positive business climate — whether a start-up or Fortune 500 company — and retaining our talented workforce.”

The unemployment numbers, which were released by the state Department of Labor and Employment, show that 3,500 non-farm jobs were added in July. That growth allowed the state's unemployment rate to drop from 5.5 percent to 5.3 percent.

That's the lowest unemployment rate the state has seen since October 2008, just as the Great Recession was kicking in.

Meanwhile, the website Business Insider ranked Colorado's economy as the best in the nation.

The influential business website used eight metrics to determine its rankings, with Colorado ranking in the top 10 in five of them.

Business Insider cited Colorado's “highly diversified” economy as a key factor in its top ranking, which includes a healthy aerospace sector and the state's “huge amount” of federal investment.

The website also factored in the state's growth in job creation and in its working-age population.

The unemployment numbers and the business report come as good news to Hickenlooper, who is seeking re-election in the fall. The governor has touted the state's improving economic health as his primary campaign strategy.

But the campaign behind his opponent this November, Republican Bob Beauprez, a former congressman, said things could be a lot better for Coloradans.

The Beauprez campaign points to evidence of sluggish economies in rural parts of the state as an indication that Hickenlooper and Democratic lawmakers have little interest in focusing on improving economies outside of the Denver metro area.

“Certainly there are signs that after this prolonged recovery there are some signs of life,” said Allen Fuller, communications director for the Beauprez campaign. “But, for a lot of Colorado families, recovery hasn't come to their doorstep yet.”