Chaffee County – and its economy – is ever changing. That reality is being driven locally by a confluence of significant population, workforce, and employment trends.
To understand these trends, Chaffee County EDC – in partnership with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Workforce Center, and EMSI – commissioned a far-reaching new Economic Overview Report. This report highlights population growth trends, labor force participation, demographics, inbound and outbound migration, industry growth, and educational pipeline.
In May of 2022, the unemployment rate in Chaffee County was 2.16 percent.
In the five years preceding 2021, the region’s population increased by 9.9 percent, growing by 1,897 to 21,307 total residents.
Population is expected to increase by an additional 8.2 percent between 2021 and 2026, adding another 1,725 additional residents.
From 2016 to 2021, jobs increased by 11 percent from 9,006 to 10,001.
As the number of jobs increased, the labor force participation rate increased from 54.5 percent to 61.0 percent between 2016 and 2021.
8,714 local residents are above the age of 55, meaning Chaffee County faces high retirement risk to the local workforce in coming years, higher than the national average.
Chaffee County is a small business economy: 69 percent of companies in Chaffee County employ 9 employees or fewer. Less than 3 percent employ 50 or more.