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Howdy, #Boulder. I know it's unusual, hearing from me on a Thursday night. But I'm going to be live-tweeting the Economic Forecast meeting for tonight.
I have finally gotten out of bed for the second time this week just for this.
This is, I believe, the fifth(?) one of these I've done. They have pretty much all been the same: Our economy is growing, it's going to keep growing, but we're probably going to go through a recession soon.
Clif Harald going over the last decade of economic indicators.
BoCo unemployment rate in 2010: 6.9%
2% today
159K jobs in 2010
196K jobs today
Retail vacancy rate in 2010: 7%
3.7% today
SF home median price 2010: $535,000 (city of Boulder)
$955,000 today
"In 2010, we were still feeling the brunt of the Great Recession," Harald says. Boulder has benefitted from and contributed to the greatest economic expansion since then.
Really looking forward to hearing from the state demographer. She is fantastic and gives great, data-focused presentations that still manage to be engaging.
Elizabeth Garner. Should have put her name in the last tweet.

She'll be followed by CU economists Rich Wobbekind and Brian Lewandowski. (They also give nice and informative presentations.)
I'm prob not going to write a story from tonight; this tweet thread will serve that purpose. But there will likely be some interesting tidbits in the Boulder Innovation Venture 2.0 report put out tonight. MUCH data.
There are some startling trends, population-wise, Garner says.

Startling. Wow. Can't wait.
So far, not startling: Our population growth is slowing.

She asks ppl who aren't from CO to put their hands up. It's almost everybody.
Not necessarily surprising but it certainly could be considered startling: What will happen to Colorado/ Boulder as our population ages and puts less $$ into the economy.
We are experiencing the slowest growth rate since 1918, Garner says. "And what was happening in 1918?" she asks.

Answer: World War I and the Spanish Flu. Two very bad things for population.
"Fun" extra fact: The Flu killed more than WWI and II combined.
"We struggle with growth in the Front Range," but they are struggling elsewhere in CO. Imagine trying to fund schools, roads, etc. when you've got a declining population base, Garner says.

95% of growth in CO has happened in the Front Range in recent years.
Comparing growth trends over the decades. We had more growth in the 70s and 90s than we've had since 2001, Garner says. "This is not unprecedented growth that we're going through right now."
Garner: The growth from 2017-2019 was less than during the Great Recession.
7K fewer births per year in CO than the peak year in 2007
525K fewer births per year in U.S. than the 2007 peak
Who cares about these numbers? K-12 and higher education. They're concerned about declining enrollment now, Garner says. "Just wait until we see those folks that weren't born not going."
She's a riot.
"When we're talking about growth in the state, the largest contributor to growth is babies" NOT in-migration, Garner says. "So when we're complaining about growth, we're complaining about babies."
There's a graph to illustrate this but I don't have a copy of it to share. Lo siento.
Boulder lost more ppl than it gained in 2018-2019. International migration (1,000 ppl) were the only contributors to in-migration, Garner says.
Between 1990 and 2010, Boulder had a net decline in population under 18 years old.
2010-2020 will be the same thing.

We're just not having a lot of babies here.
Boulder also had a whole population decline in 2018.

BoCo gained ~30,000 ppl over the last decade, among the slowest in the Front Range. Roughly 10%.

Extra info from me: City of Boulder's rate was more like 5% over that same time.
The slowest in the county except for Jamestown, I believe.

(This is info I pulled for TRENDS.)
BoCo gets a huge influx of young adults (for CU) "but then they leave," Garner says. Every other age group except for 85+ has a higher out-migration than in-migration.
Where are ppl coming from? Illinois, New York, Texas
Where are they going? Western and northwestern states.

(This is for CO as a whole.)
To Boulder: Araphaoe, El Paso Counties, then Calif, North Carolina, Hawaii
Out of Boulder: Denver, Broomfield, Larimer, Adams, Wyoming
"You're losing ppl to Wyoming," Garner as an obvious (joked) insult. I LOLed
She's continuing her schtick to poke fun at ppl who don't want more ppl/housing here but like jobs. "And housing is where those jobs go to sleep at night."
Healthcare has added the most jobs in CO from 2008-2018. Hotels/restaurants are in the top 5, too, followed by tech, transportation/warehousing and then gov't.
"This convo really is about how do we balance jobs and then the population," Garner says. Understanding the interplay of age and the services populations need (like housing). "When those pieces don't balance, you need some kind of commuting."
"We know Boulder (County) has struggled with commuting over the decades. It's nothing new."

Lots of ppl commuting in (91,000) but also commuting out (58,000)
Job growth has outpaced the growth of the working-age population here, about 39,000 to 13,000. Hence = commuting.
What matters about age is that we change our preferences, Garner says: What housing we want, how we spend our $$.
The biggest demo (age-wise) in CO is 29.
Oh my god. I'm OLDER than that. UGH. It feels weird to be on this side of the slope, or what Garner just called "the death curve."
Median age in Boulder County: 37
And we've got about the same amount of Boomers and Millennials.

Which explains why city gov't gets so contentious.
2015-2025: Boulder County's under-18 pop will shrink, as will the 45-64 y.o.

All the growth will be in 65+ y.o. About 24,000 more ppl in that age group
8K increase in 18-64 (prime working-age population)
Aging populations "create a lot of support for low-wage jobs simply by existing," Garner says. She uses her mom as an example. She spends her $$ at Panera and on health care. Specifically, home health aides.
We say we want to create higher-paying jobs, but we need to be realistic about what jobs our population is creating just by aging, Garner says.
2015-2020, 60% of increase in our working-age population is Hispanic. (Colorado) But the second-largest discrepancy in education by race/ethnicity in the country.

Big sound of shock and sadness from the audience at that second statistic. "CO can do better," Garner says.
CO will grow by 2.4M ppl by 2050; 2M of those will come to the Front Range while many rural counties continue to lose population.
Garner: "We have to plan for what are we going to do with a million extra ppl in the Denver metro area, but how are we going to plan for it slowing."
Boulder County's growth rate is projected to continue at .8% annually over the next few years. But we haven't even reached that the past few years, Garner says.
Garner: "Hopefully what you've taken away from this is that everything is connected."
"We need to think about how do we migrate ppl, educate ppl, house ppl, commute ppl."
Dennis Paul, VP of Elevations, is going to introduce Wobbekind. He's always pretty fun, too, but it's hard to follow Garner.
Paul reminds me to tweet this observation: This event is *FULL*. Paul says over 400 attendees; folks are standing along the walls.
This is apparently the 55th annual economic outlook that CU has produced.
Growth with uncertainty is the theme, Wobbekind says — at least for the next year. It's pretty hard to imagine the economy NOT growing or going into a recession as we feared a few months ago.
Why? Low unemployment, consumers still buying
Given demographic changes and productivity rate of the economy, current GDP (2.1%) is probably about as much as we can expect, Wobbekind. Maybe 2.2%
Consumers are carrying the economy, he says, though spending at a more modest rate. Investors are continuing to sit on their $$.
Employment is slowing. Last year, slowest growth since 2011. Part of the issue is supply: There just aren't enough (qualified) workers.
3.5% unemployment rate nationally
6.7% when you lump in under-employed rate

"What's really interesting ... you see both the most slack we ever had since WWII in 08-09 and the least slack we've ever had, right now."
Both occurring in the past decade or so is unusual, was Wobbekind's point.
Nationally, income and wealth are both rising. "Record-setting levels of household wealth" due to high-performing stock market and rising home prices.

That's driving consumer spending, which is 70% of nat'l economy. Ppl are buying goods but also more services than ever.
Our household debt burden is the lowest it's been in awhile, even when including student loan debt, Wobbekind says.
Vehicle and retail sales have declined, and Wobbekind predicts those will keep sliding. But consumers overall are still buying.

One exception: Used cars, bc new ones are so expensive. Avg. new car is $50K, Wobbekind says.
Mine is maybe worth $500.
But to me, she is priceless. Long live Roxie!
Before-tax corporate profits have been negative 3 of the last 4 years. After tax, though... they're not. Oh, joy.
(These are all nat'l numbers, btw.) We'll get to local ones, so maybe I'll just chill on the tweets until then.
"We still see in our Colorado biz index, a sort of 'wait and see'" when it comes to biz confidence, Wobbekind says. Companies seem to be neutral on the future of the state economy.
Wobbekind is sharing data/remarks from the Committee for A Responsible Federal Budget. They aren't good.
I would share them but I don't quite understand. All I got was: lots of debt relative to GDP. So... no bueno.
Wobbekind going over how trade deals and immigration are negatively impacting the economy. He sums it up with this: "The punchline is all of this is that going forward, we're hopeful that we're going to see some of these issues resolved and trade pick up."
Oh, man, first reference to the coronavirus!
"It's one of those things ... black swan events can throw these things off completely. I don't think it's a black swan, I think it's a baby black swan. ... We'll see as we go forward," Wobbekind says.
The point being is that the economy isn't all about economics. This health crisis sent stocks plummeting.
Going over something called the Dot Plot. It's a lot less fun than it sounds.
The Dot Plot is predicting (v slowly) rising short-term interest rates.
More ppl are defaulting on credit card debt and auto loans than in the past, according to this Wobbekind slide. They can be indicators of recession, but "I can say with some level of comfort" that more important types of loan delinquencies (including mortgages) aren't going up.
We're getting into Colorado data now. Not sure how much I'll share; I'm getting bored. I was better at this when I was a business reporter.
Wobbekind: State job growth will slow to 1.4% mostly due to low unemployment.
"It's very, very hard to find workers. ... Immigration policy is huge for (this economy) and we don't seem to be figuring it out."
Lowest unemployment rate in history at 2.4% for CO, Wobbekind shares. And Boulder is even lower.
CO has 4th-highest labor force participation (69%) in the country (avg. 63%) "The people who are here are more engaged in the labor force."

All-time high in CO was 74% in 1998(?) I believe the slide says...?
Per usual, I'm sitting in the back. It's hard to see.
Fewer homes built in CO in 2018-2019 (and Boulder County) than recent years, but that should tick up next year, Wobbekind says.
A lot of the projects we're seeing built now got permitted in 2018; this data is based on permits. Construction *employment* went up, but permitting went down.
Yay! Boulder and Boulder County data is up now.
Our GDP, after exceeding national numbers for years, was about even with the U.S. in 2018, Wobbekind says. But that will likely increase again.
Total city of Boulder jobs: 93,300
Interesting: Manufacturing is the third-highest industry in Boulder. (Biz services and gov't lead)
Manufacturing is 4th in BoCo
Biz services is like research and development, high-tech, etc. Very highly paid jobs. We have 2X the concentration of those in BoCo as the national average. And slightly more manufacturing, too, nationally.
2X as many manufacturing jobs in BoCo as in Colorado as a whole
Wages, on average, in BoCo are up 6.3% year-over-year
"We're looking at strong wage growth, strong employment growth," Wobbekind says. "Only Denver and Broomfield have higher wages."
Wobbekind's data puts median single-family home price at just over $1 million.
That's city of Boulder, obvs. Last time I checked, BoCo was more in the $650,000 range. But it's been awhile.
3.7% retail vacancy rate in the city
Very, very low.
"Generally speaking, the real estate picture is quite positive in terms of occupancy," Wobbekind says. "Retail is particularly interesting," given the national trends in retail. We're doing quite well; ppl want to be here.
A few years ago, Boulder's sales tax revenue wasn't growing as fast as other BoCo communities. (Here's a story I did on that! It's fun to reminisce.) dailycamera.com/2018/02/09/sal…
But now, Boulder is back to on-par with Longmont, Lafayette in terms of sales tax growth, Wobbekind says.
Spending just a few moments on possible complications for the local economy.
Wobbekind: "How do you keep the talent pipeline when you don't have people? How do you match up housing to the workforce? It might very well mean a more sophisticated transportation system."
Another headwind? Weather.
Much of the state is still in drought conditions, especially in ag areas, Wobbekind says.
Wage increases, too, are on that list. Reminds us that this is the last year of the "big jumps" in state min wage. Now at $12/hr.

We'll see if that boosts ppl to affordability and a livable wage, Wobbekind says.
Narrator: It will not.
I mean, it's HUGE for min wage earners. But nobody can live on $12/hr. That's absurd.
Harald is back up to talk the Innovation report. I think I covered this when it launched and the headline was that Boulder was being too humble about how great it is.

Pretty sure I wrote that with just a *touch* of sarcasm.
One of the data points in this is the brain drain index by Bloomberg, which shows where highly educated ppl are leaving and where they're going.

It's here: Boulder has been No. 1 on this index since it's creation as a brainy destination.
Boulder County has a $28 billion economy, according to Brian Lewandowski. That puts us toward the bottom bc we're so small. But on a per-capita basis ($85,000) we're, like, 5th in the country.
"This is really a reflection of our economy: The engineers, the scientists and the software developers," Lewandowski says.
Didn't know this: 16% of all jobs in BoCo are STEM-related
I mean, it's not surprising. I just had never seen a specific figure before.
Also interesting (I'm just reading the physical report now; sorry I'm not listening to Lewandowski): Boulder has the highest number of BCorps, per capita, in the U.S.
I'm listening again. Harald sharing slides showing that BoCo also has the highest concentration of arts establishments and restaurants per capita.

Not surprising, given our wealth. But still interesting.
John Tayer, head of the Chamber, up now. Nice guy. Heads up the second-biggest Chamber in Colorado and still drives a shitty little four-banger car. Like a Ford Focus or something.

(Which I love, bc I also drive a shitty little four-banger.)
"It's pride that this report illustrates, and pride I have in all of you for being a part" of our community and economy, Tayer says.
We're just doing thank-you's now, so I think I'll wrap this thread up. @threadreaderapp, please unroll. Thanks!

Ya'll have a good night. See You Next Tuesday.
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