Colorado Springs employers expect to hand out slightly smaller raises next year, an annual survey by the Denver-based human resource nonprofit Employers Council shows.
Raises for Springs-area workers are expected to average 2.9% in 2020, down from 3% this year and matching the 2.9% increases employers gave out in 2018, according to the council’s survey of nearly 500 employers in Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming.
That’s below the 3% statewide average, the 3.1% average for the Denver area and northern Colorado and 3.5% in resort areas but ahead of the 2.5% in the Pueblo area and Western Slope.
Pay hikes for workers in the Colorado Springs area will be best in the finance and real estate sector at 4.2%, followed by services at 3.3% and health care at 3.2%. Local workers in the construction sector are expected to get raises averaging 3%, while those in government and the nonprofit sectors will get the smallest increases at 2.4% and 2.3%, respectively.
Sue Wolf, the council’s director of surveys, said raises have remained steady for several years as employers focus more resources on filling openings that pose the biggest recruiting and retention challenges. Employers may have been slightly more conservative in forecasting raises for next year out of concerns that an economic slowdown may be coming in the next year or so, she said.
Employees in “critical-to-recruit” jobs last year received raises more than double the statewide average at 6.7%. The survey found skilled trade and production workers the most difficult to recruit, followed by professional and technical positions — the same types of positions that have been the most difficult to recruit or retain for the past three years.
Wolf said Colorado’s labor market remains tight with an unemployment rate of 3%, down from 3.7% in January and February, with employment growing faster than the labor force. That has pushed the average hourly wage for Colorado workers up 5.4% from a year earlier to $30.22 in June, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The jobless rate in Colorado Springs was 3.7% in May, the most recent month available.
Even with raises averaging 3% last year, employee turnover increased in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, but declined slightly in the Denver area, northern Colorado and statewide. Turnover in the Springs area increased from 13.8% in 2017 to 16.5% in 2018, while statewide turnover fell to 19.9% from 20.8% during the same period.
The survey of 488 human resource managers in the three states from January to March included 426 from Colorado — 53 of those from Colorado Springs and 25 from Pueblo. The organizations participating in the survey employed 264,000. The council will present results of the survey Sept. 26 in Colorado Springs.
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