Despite a slight drop in consumer sentiment in June, the latest economic figures show steady growth throughout the nation and Southern Colorado, says Tatiana Bailey, executive director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum in her monthly update.

Highlights from the report:

  • Consumer sentiment dropped to 93.5, down from 94.7 in May. Bailey said the drop was due to a weak May jobs report, but notes that June rebounded with 287,000 new jobs nationwide. Preliminary survey data for July shows that Brexit is having a negative impact on consumer sentiment mostly driven by the higher income households who have experienced or expect to experience losses in their investment portfolios. “It is important to remember that in the trough of the recession, consumer sentiment fell below 60, so even a slight decline in June has to be kept in perspective,” she said. “Consumers are still optimistic about future prices and favorable interest rates, which is motivating durables, vehicle and home purchases.”
  • The national unemployment rate dropped in may to 4.5 percent and the El Paso County unemployment rate continues to be significantly below the national rate. “…Our rate was 4 percent, which most economists would consider at or below the ‘natural’ rate of unemployment. Colorado’s unemployment rate has very incrementally been edging up, but it is still one of the lowest in the nation at 3.6 percent.”
  • The civilian labor force participation rate increased to 62.7 percent, but the rate is still at historic lows, she said. “Increased labor productivity is key to economic growth and long-term sustainability so it is important for communities to strategize on how to engage those who have left the labor force.”
  • Nationally and in El Paso County, residential real estate continues to perform very well. “Prices are also appreciating in the Colorado Springs MSA: median price for Q1 of 2015 was $220,100 and in Q1 of 2016 it was $239,800,” Bailey said. “This represents a 9 percent increase in one year and our median price is now well above the U.S. median price of $217,600.”

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