Real GDP and Colorado Employment

Over time, there has been a strong correlation between the values of Real Gross Domestic Product and Colorado employment. Logically, this makes sense because both are growth variables that follow similar paths.

Employment data for Colorado was first recorded in 1939. In 4 of the decades since, (50s, 60s, 70s, 90s) there has been a strong correlation between changes in the U.S. economy and Colorado employment. In three of the decades, the tie between the two variables was weaker. This can be explained by a variety of economic disruptions:
• 1940s – World War II and the post-war effect caused the two variables to be out of sync.
• 1980s – Colorado experienced regional issues including an oil and gas boom and bust, savings and loan crisis, overbuilt housing market, and net out-migration for 5 years.
• 2000s – The primary and secondary effects of two recessions hit Colorado harder than other regions of the country.

Since 1939, Colorado has experienced net job losses 8 times. On 5 of these 8 occasions, the U.S. recorded positive Real GDP growth.

Colorado experienced job losses 4 times during the past 8 years:
2002    42,700 jobs lost.
Real GDP = 1.8%.
2003    31,400 jobs lost.
Real GDP = 2.5%.
2009    106,300 jobs lost.
Real GDP = -2.6%
2010    35,000 jobs lost.
Real GDP = 2.6%.
There was positive expansion in output in 3 of the 4 years that job losses occurred.

Recent forecast updates suggest that the U.S. will experience below potential output growth through 2011. This raises the question, “Has the fragile state economy recovered to the point where it can add jobs in such a volatile economic environment?”


©Copyright 2011 by CBER.

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