Economic outlook for 2019: Still growing, just more slowly

Adams County could benefit as economy cools, experts tell lunch group

Posted 12/12/18

You shouldn’t notice much of a difference in Colorado’s economy in 2019 when compared to the past few years, a trio of state business and demographics experts said Dec. 6. “We are forecasting …

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Economic outlook for 2019: Still growing, just more slowly

Adams County could benefit as economy cools, experts tell lunch group

Posted

You shouldn’t notice much of a difference in Colorado’s economy in 2019 when compared to the past few years, a trio of state business and demographics experts said Dec. 6.

“We are forecasting to continue to grow, but at a slowing rate,” said State Demographer Elizabeth Garner. “But Adams should grow the most in the Denver Metro area.”

She was one three featured speakers at a luncheon at Westminster’s DoubleTree Hotel sponsored by ACED, the Adams County Economic Development group.

Ethan S. Braid, founder of High Pass Asset Management, said the current national economic climate, which features low inflation and steady growth, is due for a change.

“Trees do not grow to the moon and good times do not go on forever,” Braid said. “If you are an employer, if you have a company, now is a good time to go talk to your banker.”

He recommended local businesses and individuals consider how much debt they carry and suggested they make a point of having more cash available.

“I like to say nobody ever went out of business by having too much cash,” he said. “If you have a $20 million revenue company, can you write a check for $1 million? Do you have cash on hand and unused credit with your banker where you can come up with five percent of sales. That’s a good place to be and if you’re not there, I would encourage you to get there.”

Real estate demographer Jesse Ostermick of the firm CBRE said Colorado at large and Adams County in particular should expect to see economic growth continue in 2019, but not as quickly as has.

“My outlook is positive, but I think there are a lot of mixed signals,” Ostermick said. “I think we will see strong growth in 2019 but it will be slower — partly due to rising interest rates and some of the headwinds, such as tariffs, that we are seeing now.”

She noted interest rates are expected to increase while some sectors of Colorado’s booming construction economy begin to slow down — commercial construction is one example, she said.

“It will still be active, but it won’t be a banner year,” she said.

Other construction markets will take more prominence, she said. She pointed to a growing health care market, increases in co-working and growth in retail, which has not grown as quickly as other Colorado sectors.

“I think we’ll still have below average vacancies rates and people will see increases in lease rates,” she said. “But I think it’s going to start being more favorable for our users and tenants who have had to compete so hard and pay so much for their space.”

Aging trends

Garner, reviewing population statistics, said that Adams County bucks several statewide trends. For example, across the state older Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, and Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981, outnumber those born after 1981.

That’s not as much the case in Adams County, which has many more young adults.

“We can see that almost every age group here is larger than your aging population,” Garner said. “You have the third youngest medium age in the state and the second fewest population over 65.”

Adams County will continue to see impacts from the aging population she said.

“You are getting older but you are young,” she said. “It’s a hard thing to see, but you are young. So planning to age, and leveraging it, is really important.”

Colorado will see a shift to health care as the population ages, she said. That could ease the labor market, as well.

“Who are your workers? They’ll be aging out,” she said. “When we lose people from aging, we’ll need more.”

We need to make sure we prepare them, however.

“Your kiddos are your future labor force and your future consumers,” she said. “We need to make sure that everyone is ready.”

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