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What’s Up in Colorado?

Employment growth slows to nearly nothing in the Centennial State.

July was another strong month for job-creation in the American Southwest. But Colorado, a state of 5.8 million people — with 3.2 million in its labor force — added a net 24 jobs.

Twenty-four jobs.

That’s four months in a row that the Centennial State’s employment expansion has slowed. Meanwhile, Utah, Texas, Nevada, and Oklahoma have kept hiring at impressive clips.

Colorado still enjoys an enviably low unemployment rate, although the metric ticked upward from 2.8 percent in June to 2.9 percent in July. In our region, only Utah (2.4 percent) and Oklahoma (2.7 percent) fared better.

But it’s worth noting that each “of Colorado’s metropolitan areas saw increases in their unemployment rates.” And a serious headwind is about to start blowing in just a few months. The statewide minimum wage “is expected to rise to $14.42 from $13.65 effective Jan. 1, 2024.” Not to be outdone, the City of Edgewater imposes its $15.02 mandate on the same day. The new year will also see Denver’s dictate “increase one dollar per hour to $18.29.” And Boulder County’s pols plan to “introduce a new hourly minimum wage … which will see the county’s local minimum wage rise to 15% above Colorado’s 2023 minimum wage on Jan. 1, 2024.”

It looks like the blue-state policy model is tightening its grip on Colorado. Too bad. Look what “progressivism” has done to California. It lost jobs last month, and its unemployment rate is the second-worst in the nation. Tomorrow, on SPPI-TV, Dan Walters of CalMatters will join us to discuss the Golden State’s not-so-golden present, and downright scary future.

By D. Dowd Muska

Dowd brings nearly 30 years of research and writing experience to the Institute. A veteran of several think tanks, he is an expert on government at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels.

Raised on an apple orchard in the Connecticut River Valley, D. Dowd Muska is a researcher, writer, editor, and commentator. His focus is the nexus of fiscal policy, economic development, and technology.

Mr. Muska is the author of numerous policy studies, and his writing has appeared in newspapers throughout the nation, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Detroit News, the Orlando Sentinel, the Cape Cod Times, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Hartford Courant, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Albuquerque Journal, the New Haven Register, and The Oklahoman. A graduate of The George Washington University, he lives in the Albuquerque metro area, but has started (very) early planning for a relocation to the Sierra Blanca in Lincoln County, New Mexico. He recently launched the Substack platform No Dowd About It.

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