With the recent downturn in oil and gas and the influx of tech startups into both the Boulder and Denver Tech Center areas, many residents are asking about the state of Colorado’s economy. How are we as a state positioned to survive or thrive in 2015 and beyond? Where are our areas of both hope and concern? What can we expect from both lawmakers and Colorado-based businesses to help our economy grow and succeed this year?

DenverSmall businesses (less than 500 employees) compose half of Colorado’s workforce, the backbone of our economy. According to the Denver Business Journal, the survival rate for Colorado small businesses saw a jump in 2013-2014, rising 13.4% over the previous period.  This creates a positive outlook for 2015 as more small businesses start their journey in a recovering economy.

In his recent remarks to the Economic Club of Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper encouraged caution among Colorado business leaders when it comes to our state’s economic outlook moving forward. Colorado is anticipating a population explosion of over three million new residents in the next twenty years. This bodes well for Colorado’s economy, but only if the infrastructure and growth capacity is in place to accommodate such a massive population increase.

Along with this influx of new residents, we are seeing an important shift in our state’s workforce demographic. According to Vectra Bank Colorado’s Annual Economic Forecast Update, the 18 to 35-year-old millennial generation recently surpassed baby boomers as the largest portion of Colorado’s workforce. At the same time, Colorado’s current housing market is already at a nation-leading pace. With housing costs being higher than ever before in Colorado, many top-level millennial job candidates are considering other markets with more affordable housing. These two factors are forcing many Colorado businesses to reconsider their hiring and organizational strategies to better attract millennials.

As Colorado continues to expand and change its business workforce, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic as we look ahead to the rest of 2015 and beyond.

To read the Denver Business Journal’s report about the state of small businesses in Colorado, please click here.

 For the Denver post article recapping Governor Hickenlooper’s remarks to the Economic Club of Colorado, click here.

 To read about Vectra Bank Colorado’s Annual Economic Forecast Update, click here.