As many people are aware, the growth in Weld County has been substantial within the last two years. With the oil industry increasing in Colorado, especially Weld County, we are seeing an increase in people. Oil workers tend to live where the work is, or at least nearby. Places like Texas, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming have lost population due to a slow-down in the oil industry in those specific areas. Meanwhile, the demand for oil work in Colorado continues to increase. According to the Greeley Tribune, Brian Lewandowski, Economist at University of Colorado Leeds School of Business reported “about 90% of oil production in Colorado is in Weld County.” The Greeley Tribune reported that “in 2017, oil prices were up about 20 percent.”
Colorado’s population has drastically been on the rise over the last few years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau reported in the Greeley Tribune, the “Weld County population increased 3.5% from July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2016.” While job opportunity in the oil field has increased, this cannot be proven to be the exact reason why people are relocating.
Colorado is also a hub to many companies such as RE/MAX (Corporate Headquarters based in Denver), Google, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Denver Health and more. Job opportunities have brought many people to Colorado, as well as the housing market and cost of living.
While the job market in Colorado expands, minimum wage will be increasing throughout a four-year period. Minimum wage increased in Colorado from $8.31 an hour to $9.30 on January 1, 2017. It will continue to increase until it reaches $12 and hour in 2020.
The Colorado housing market has been more affordable than other sought out places such as New York and Los Angeles. With many people relocating to Colorado, this has caused an increase in homes prices and home values. People are relocating and bringing their business to Northern Colorado. Weld and Larimer Counties have been in a close race of who will hit 500,000 first. It is predicted that Weld County will get there first with housing prices being less than Larimer County.
According to KUNC, Lewandowski said “Northern Colorado is a popular area nationally with tourism, construction and manufacturing.” The area is sweeping the state and parts of the country with increases in employment and jobs. The difficult part about jobs increasing is the pay. Larimer and Weld county wages are about at $55,000, roughly $7,000-$8,000 below the state average. This is because most of the jobs being added are food service and hospitality, which pay less than other jobs (KUNC).
While Colorado remains one of the top 10 growth states, a few problems still remain. There are more jobs here than workers who are qualified for them; not enough infrastructure; lack of housing inventory; and lower wages (Greeley Tribune).
“Director of research and analysis for the Colorado Branch of CBRE, Matt Vance, stated that the area will see fewer multifamily houses being built, and more single-family homes” (Greeley Tribune).
For more information regarding population growth in Weld County and the 2018 Economic Forecast, please visit the following websites:
KUNC Economic Growth Forecast
Greeley Tribune 2018 Economic Forecast
Greeley Tribune Weld County Ranks No. 4 in Nation