Weekly News from COBRT - January 2, 2019
LEADERSHIP. REACH. RESULTS.
January 2, 2019
He was a businessman's politican, a man who moved from the private sector into local government because he was fed up with Denver regulations and wanted to do something about it. By the time John Hickenlooper arrived in the governor's office eight years later in 2011, he knew how to move in both worlds and how to bring them together to create change. His eight years as Colorado's top elected official produced remarkable turnaround statistics - from 40th in the nation to first in job creation, from 27th in unemployment rate to second. Other states came out of the Great Recession faster, but none came out with such a long-lasting boom or with such a significant change in national reputation, which could be attributed partially to the Democrat in the governor's office. 

Gov.-elect Jared Polis on Friday unveiled his first batch of a dozen cabinet picks, tapping several former lawmakers and federal government officials. Polis also will keep a couple of cabinet members from the Hickenlooper administration. Polis' first dozen picks are spilt 50/50 among men and women and four of the picks are minorities; three Hispanics and one African-American. 

Gov.-elect Jared Polis on Friday appointed former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey as executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, choosing a one-time business owner with extensive experience in government to replace a slew of private-sector leaders without government experience whom outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper put in charge of the state's business recruitment and retention office. 

Looking at key data through November (employment) and the third quarter (transportation and housing), we see Colorado's economy performed as expected in 2018. The tax cuts helped, especially in areas like light truck purchases. Both passanger and freight traffic at Denver International Airport maintained a strong pace along with the national economy. These factors and strong growth in single-family home construction helped push employment growth above rates experienced in 2016 and 2017. Despite the strong growth, the unemployment rate increased thanks to even higher rates of labor force growth as more people were drawn back into the labor force seeking jobs. 

Six years ago, when she was named chairwoman of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, then-Rep. Angela Williams called representatives from business, labor and other organizations together and informed them things would be different under her oversight. Before controversial measures came before the committee, she would sit down with both sides - either together or separately - understand their issues and try to find common ground. 

Though Colorado is making progress in terms of the number of its residents who are obtaining advanced degrees, the gap between current figures and where the state needs to be remains a "big deal," and the state may need to look at providing economic incentives to companies to further expand the infrastructure needed to develop successful career pathways, a new Colorado Department of Labor and Employment report says. 

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