Blog: Job market promising for Pikes Peak region

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Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

Creating more of them has been a longstanding promise of President Donald J. Trump since the early days of his candidacy. Whether Trump was responsible for the approximately two million jobs created during his first year in office is up for debate — especially since even more jobs were created in the same time period the year before, when Barack Obama was in the Oval Office.

In fact job creation has been on the rise since 2013, when the country began climbing out of the Great Recession.

From January to November 2017, there were 1.916 million jobs created in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that same time frame in 2016, 2.085 million jobs were created.

Experts will argue that a sitting president has little to do with job creation; that it’s largely a product of the business community and overall economy.

Well, our economy in the Pikes Peak region is good and the jobs outlook for 2018 is promising, said Debbie Sagen, vice president of workforce development for Pikes Peak Community College.

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“The outlook is still quite strong,” Sagen said in an email, “with many companies reporting new contracts [and] commitments from customers and the need to add positions.”

There were 10,815 job openings in the Pikes Peak region on last week, according to Traci Marques, interim executive director of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

“We average about 125 people a day that walk through our doors looking for services, workshops or hiring events,” Marques said. “We see the job market being continuous from 2017 into 2018 and we have a good outlook for our job fairs and helping people find employment.”

Unemployment numbers are quite low, said Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum. “Colorado was at 2.9 percent and El Paso County was at 3.3 percent in November.”

Nationwide unemployment remained at 4.1 percent for November.

Industries most in need of employees in the Pikes Peak region in 2017 were health care, information technology, cybersecurity, hospitality and manufacturing. Sagen doesn’t see that changing in 2018.

“Our top jobs in demand have remained steady for a number of years now,” Sagen said. “I don’t see them changing in the near term as there are so many vacancies in computer engineering and nursing locally, as well as in the customer service/support area. This trend remains a national one — the job shortages in technology and healthcare will remain especially acute.”

Bailey said the local outlook is moving in the right direction.

“There’s a movement in Colorado Springs toward professional and business sector jobs, and the median wage has been increasing,” she said. “A skilled labor force means a higher standard of living and a higher tax base. Colorado Springs is definitely trending in the right direction.”

Read more about the 2018 jobs outlook for the Pikes Peak region in the Jan. 5 edition of the Business Journal.