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Colorado's Hospitality & Tourism Sector Expected To Rebound Slower Than Others

DENVER (CBS4) - In 2022, economists predict Colorado will have more employees than before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but some sectors of business will take years to fully recover. While high tech jobs have only increased in the state since early 2020, jobs around leisure and hospitality are still desperate for workers.

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"You basically have a one-to-one match in Colorado. Every unemployed person, technically there's a job out there that's being advertised for them right now, but they may not match up. They may have one skill set and the company's looking for somebody who's a computer programmer," said Richard Wobbekind a Senior Economist at the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder.

A report released Monday says the economic outlook for the state is strong, but job growth is fading. One reason is a reduction in available workers.

"Part of it is a lack of available workforce and where does that come from as we go forward? Even with all these jobs posted, there's not people to take these jobs," Wobblekind said.

The report predicts 31,700 jobs will be filled around tourism, hotels, casinos, and restaurants. Industries that have been trying to hire since many reopened in the summer of 2020. The economists believe it will be a few more years before that sector is at full employment, especially in Colorado's mountain resort communities.

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"As the business demand comes back, especially over the weekends, we had to hire in all departments. We had to build," said Mustafa Menekse, the Director of Sales at the Maven and Rally hotels. "We've done quite a few, you know, initiatives to encourage hiring and retention as well."

When the pandemic began The Maven closed for several weeks. While still trying to restaff, the company opened The Rally hotel to coincide with the baseball season in March of 2021. Now with two filled staffs, the hotels will look for more workers as demand increases during the week.

"We hire as much as we can," said Menekse. "We hope that that (midweek bookings) will come back. So that we can continue to hire and go back to those 2019 levels that we were."

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