By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – The State of Colorado’s economy is continuing its recovery in the face of the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Legislative Council Staff released its September forecast on Tuesday. Gov. Jared Polis attributes Colorado’s high consumer spending to the state’s success in fighting COVID.

“Colorado is in the lowest 10 states for per capita deaths. We also have one of the faster economic recoveries,” said Polis.

The COVID vaccine has allowed businesses to operate safely at full capacity. Colorado’s high vaccination rate is part of why Polis says our economy is roaring back.

In June, sales at hotels and restaurants exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

“For industries like tourism, people see Colorado as a safe state. Nobody wants to travel into a viral hot zone,” said Polis. “People from across the country generally feel good about coming to Colorado and spending their money here.”

Supply and demand mismatches have continued. People are spending faster than supply chains can re-up and faster than places can hire. Colorado’s unemployment rate is slightly above the national average, but the labor force participation rate is high.

“I think one place where Colorado is shining in the economy is the amount of people who are looking for work and working,” said Lauren Larson, Director of State Planning & Budgeting. “The rest of the country hasn’t rebounded to full levels there.”

Larson says the state is forecasting a significant amount of revenue above the Tabor cap, meaning rebates for Coloradans.

“People can expect a $70 rebate from the state. In addition to that, the income tax Coloradans pay will go down next year from 4.55% to 4.5%,” said Polis. “It’s welcome news for people who are seeing expenses going up and need every little bit of help they can get.”

While the economy is bouncing back, there is some uneven recovery for groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. According to the report, lower-income Coloradans and small businesses — particularly women and minority owned-businesses — are taking longer to recover.

Tori Mason