Report: Mountain states economy growing at healthy rate

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Manufacturing in Colorado proved to be a major economic driver in May, according to the latest report from the Goss Institute for Economic Research.

The report said new orders are growing faster than jobs in Colorado.

“To accommodate this growth, manufacturers in the state are expanding the hourly workweek for current employees much faster than adding jobs,” said Ernie Goss, director of the Institute. “On the other hand, businesses tied to the state’s rapidly advancing construction industry continue to experience very healthy business conditions.”

Goss rates the mountain states – Colorado, Wyoming and Utah – based on an index from new orders, production, sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time. According to his calculations, the overall index for the mountain states region is very healthy.

“Durable and non-durable goods manufacturers in the region, particularly those linked to the region’s rapidly expanding construction industry, pushed the overall index higher. Even though agriculture prices have softened recently, companies with ties to agriculture continue to experience healthy, but somewhat reduced, economic growth,” Goss said.

The employment index bounced well above growth neutral for the month. The hiring gauge climbed to a solid 57.1 from April’s 56.2.

“The region is now adding jobs at more than twice the pace of the nation according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data,” he said. “Our regional survey and national surveys of supply managers indicate that this gap is likely to remain for the next 3 to 6 months with the region adding jobs at an annual pace above three percent. As job prospects have improved, so has wage growth. Supply managers expect wages to advance by 2.7 percent over the next year.”