CU economists: State will lose more than 128K jobs in 2020

BOULDER — Economists at the Leeds Business Research Division of the University of Colorado Boulder predict Colorado’s economy will shed about 128,500 jobs this year.

CU’s Colorado Business Economic Outlook, initially released in December, had predicted the addition of 40,100 jobs. The revision shows just how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic has been to the state’s economy. 

“We have no context, nationally or in Colorado, in which to assess this magnitude of economic devastation,” Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director of the Leeds Business Research Division, said in a news release that accompanied the CBEO report. “We can try and compare it to the Great Recession, but the numbers are orders of magnitude different.  We never shut the economy down before.”

Industries most affected by the slowdown include hospitality, expected to lose 76,700 jobs (-22.3%) in 2020, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which CU economists predict will lose 13,000 jobs (-2.7%0.

Professional and business services is expected to fare much better, losing on 0.2% of the positions in the industry in 2020.

“While the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have set many records, we have also been surprised by the rebound in some areas of the economy,” Brian Lewandowski, executive director of the Leeds Business Research Division, said in a statement.

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