Aug. 3—The Longmont Economic Development Partnership reports that according to data from EMSI, an economic modeling systems company, there were 56,113 jobs across all Longmont-area industries at the end of 2020, compared to 58,020 jobs at the end of 2019, reflecting job losses of 3.3% across all of those industries last year.
From 2015 to 2020, jobs increased by 2.6% in the Longmont area, from 54,715 to 56,113, the LEPD reported, a change outpacing the national 1.3% growth rate.
The EMSI data has estimated there will be 56,651 jobs in the Longmont area — ZIP codes 80501, 80502, 80503, 80504 — at the end of 2021, representing a 1.0% job growth projection across all industries in 2021. That would be on par with the national growth rate projection of 1.0%, the LEDP said in a written report to the Longmont City Council.
The LEDP's written report said preliminary U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates show the unemployment rate in the city of Longmont at the end of May was 5.6%, down from its peak of 11.0% in April 2020, and up from 2.7% in February 2020. By comparison, the Colorado statewide unemployment rate at the end of May was 6.2%, while in Boulder County it was 4.7%, and nationwide the rate was 5.8%.
On Tuesday night, the LEDP is scheduled to give City Council a presentation about the organization's activities in the second quarter of 2021, April through June.
The partnership, which gets a major portion of its annual funding from the city, works to recruit, retain and expand primary industries — those that bring in more than half their revenue from outside Boulder County — as well as to provide a variety of services for small businesses.
In its written report for the council study session, the LEDP said jobs in Knowledge Creation and Deployment businesses, the best performing sector of several categories of target industries the partnership is tracking in the Longmont area, grew by 2.6% from 2019 to 2020 and is projected to grow 1.5% from 2020 through the end of this year.
Knowledge Creation and Deployment businesses include research and development companies in engineering, physical and life sciences, as well as private research labs, medical, pharma, bioengineering and biotechnology companies, according to the LEDP website.
Jobs in another of the target industries categories the LEDP is watching — the Business Catalyst sector — experienced the "best projected upward trend" growing by 0.9% from 2019 to 2020 and expected to grow 2.4% from last year through the end of 2021.
That category includes companies and businesses that deliver specialized expertise, services and support to help other businesses do business, such as specialized consultants, data processing, hosting, marketing, and design.
"Hard hit" in the comparison were Longmont area jobs in a Smart Manufacturing sector, which experienced negative 4.5% job growth from 2019 to 2020 but are projected to grow 1.4% from the end of 2020 through the end of this year.
That category includes companies designing and building advanced manufacturing technology, ranging from creating optical devices to storage batteries to surgical tools.
Even harder hit was a Food and Beverage sector of the Longmont area economy, the LEDP said. There, total jobs fell by 13.7% from the end of 2019 through the end of 2020 and are expected to fall another 0.7 percent by the end of this year.
That category includes national breweries, craft distilleries and artisan eateries as well as national and international food companies and their manufacturing.
Longmont Economic Development Partnership president and CEO Jessica Erickson could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
While the written report doesn't specify or detail what may have affected the increases and reductions in those target-industry sectors the LEDP is monitoring, the time frames extend through the 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that's still having an impact on many of those businesses.
The city is contributing $363,000 toward the LEDP's $734,000 projected overall 2021 budget; Boulder County, $35,000; and the Platte River Power Authority, $25,000, according to a written report the agency submitted prior to Tuesday's council meeting presentation. Another $35,000 is expected to come from fees the partnership gets for administering an enterprise zone program, and $286,000 from private investors and sponsors.
The Longmont Economic Development Partnership's strategic objectives for 2021, according to the written report the agency has submitted prior to Tuesday's in-person presentation to the council, include: strengthening Longmont's competitive position; marketing Longmont nationally and globally; supporting the creation and retention of quality jobs; advancing opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation, and advocating on behalf of all Longmont businesses.
Tuesday's presentation also is expected to touch on the results of a recently completed Workforce Perceptions Study that found, when 200 residents, workers and business owners responded to a survey, that:
— 52% rated Longmont as a safe place to live.
— 53% described Longmont as welcoming and respectful.
— 66% rated Longmont as having excellent access to a wide variety of food and drink options.
— More than 70% ranked outdoor recreation and activities as both very important and very accessible.
— 54% think Longmont's schools are excellent.
— 55% enjoy the arts and culture scene in Longmont.
— 60% feel Longmont has "a strong community vibe."
— More than 50% feel Longmont "offers the perfect work-life balance equation."
— One-half said there are nearby career opportunities for their spouses or partners.
— One-half said they appreciate the innovative companies in and around Longmont.
"'Affordable housing,' 'access to housing,' and 'cost of living' were ranked as very to extremely important to respondents and ... Longmont had shortcomings in these areas specifically," the LEDP said in a news release about that survey last month.
However, the LEDP said in July that it "is working with elected leadership, the development community, and industry leaders to tackle these issues."
If you go
What: Longmont City Council study session
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Civic Center Council Chambers, 350 Kimbark St., Longmont