The COVID-19 pandemic affected nearly every Coloradan in some way or another over the course of 2020 and 2021. From stay-at-home orders in March and April and mask mandates, to working from home and record numbers of Coloradans filing for unemployment insurance benefits, the past 18 months have had a profound effect on our state. Public health orders issued by federal, state, and local governments also had tremendous effects on our state’s economy and job market. Thousands of jobs in restaurants, hotels, arts and entertainment, and many other industries disappeared in a matter of weeks. Unemployment was at one of the highest levels since the Great Depression. Despite lifting most of the COVID-related restrictions, our economy has still yet to return to “normal.” While 2021 has seen Colorado’s economy add an average of 16,150 jobs each month, our unemployment rate has remained above 6 percent since April 2020.
The aim of this report was to capture and understand how our state’s economy and labor market changed as a result of the pandemic and how both might change in the future as our economy recovers.