Despite State Economic Gains, Rural Colorado Expected To Lag Behind Rest Of State

Sep 25, 2017

Credit CCO Public Domain

The Colorado economy will continue to grow at a steady clip, according to state economic forecasts released last week, thanks in part to rebounding oil prices, but rural Colorado isn’t expected to benefit as much as other parts of the state.

As The Denver Post reports, the number of active oil and gas rigs in Colorado plummeted from about 80 at the end of 2014 to a low of 15 in May 2016, according to the industrial services company Baker Hughes, but since then, the industry has brought at least 22 more online.

Plus, the state’s general fund is expected to grow by over $660 million over the next two fiscal years – in stark contrast to a year ago when the state was facing a $330 million budget shortfall.

But despite the encouraging outlook, rural Colorado is expected to continue to lag behind the Front Range, largely due to a drop in agricultural commodity prices. After the ag sector’s gross domestic product fell 20 percent in the first quarter of this year, farm income fell, forcing some farmers and ranchers to take out loans to make ends meet.