Employment, retail sales up in county

Second-quarter figures show positive signs


The unemployment rate in Douglas County continues to drop, dipping to 5.6 percent at the conclusion of the second quarter, the lowest since 2008.

According to the county’s second quarter economic report, prepared by Development Research Partners and released Oct. 3, that number translates to 7,300 new jobs in the county, as well as an 8 percent rise in employment from year to year.

The bulk of those jobs are in professional and business services (1,817 jobs), information services (1,200 jobs), and wholesale trade and employment (488 jobs).

“These outcomes suggest that when we, as well as our public/private partners, focus on and invest intelligently in the foundations that support and attract economic growth, we position Douglas County for economic success,” said Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella.

Repella, and the report, both suggest that things are going to continue to improve, highlighting new developments such as Sterling Ranch, which expects to bring 12,050 single-family homes into the northwestern part of the county, and numerous companies continuing to move into the county.

Retail sales have also increased dramatically for the county as a whole, jumping 6.1 percent over the year in the second quarter. Highlands Ranch led the way in retail sales increase with a 14.7 percent leap, while Lone Tree, the county’s largest retail area, was just 0.3 percent higher than a year ago.

“Economists note that consumers are considerably more positive about business and labor market conditions compared with the beginning of the year,” the report states.

Real estate market booming

Single family-home sales have leaped from 1,806 in Douglas County through the second quarter in 2012 to 2,264 in 2013, while condominium sales have also climbed, increasing from 226 to 291 over the same time frame.

As interest rates remain near all-time lows and inventory increases, houses are flying off the market, which has in turn driven up prices.

The average single family-home was selling for $362,110 in 2012, compared to $390,614 at the same time in 2013. The average condominium price, similarly, has climbed from $203,940 to $218,818.

Office vacancies are also down to 7.4 percent, the lowest since 2008, and industrial vacancies have dropped to 2.3 percent, the lowest since 2001. 


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