Coloradans got a raise last year. Personal income rose 5.7 percent in 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
That puts Colorado in the nation’s top tier for income growth, ranking fourth in the U.S. The upward pressure on incomes is, in large part, a reflection of the state’s tight labor market. The unemployment rate is just 3.5 percent, and employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers.
Several industries saw unusually large jumps in incomes and no industry saw a substantial decline. Professional, scientific, and technical services saw the biggest jump in personal income. These are professions with high educational requirements, which makes them tough positions to fill.
Construction also saw strong income growth. New Denver area construction was up 16 percent in 2018 with a total of $9.4 billion in new projects, according to Dodge Data and Analytics. So far in 2019, new projects have declined 5 percent, but many of last year’s projects are still under construction. That’s increasing competition for talent in an industry that’s struggled to fill positions since the end of the Great Recession.
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction also had big income increases. A large contributor to that was oil. Colorado’s oil production hit new highs in 2018, as commodity prices remained well above producers’ break-even point.