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A lot has changed in the world in the past year and this means big changes for Colorado too, like increasing the minimum wage.
As the economy starts bouncing back, what effects will we see on the job market? Will the minimum wage increase help you earn more money or get a better paying job?
There are a lot of questions if you are looking for a job in Colorado. In this guide, we are sharing the answers as well as some important data you need to know.
Here is everything you should know about the highest paying jobs and the new Colorado minimum wage increase in a post 2020 world.
In this post:
What is the current Colorado minimum wage?
Colorado’s state minimum wage is adjusted annually based on the rate of inflation.
As of January 2024 the Colorado minimum wage rate has increased from $13.65 an hour to $14.42 an hour.
The city of Denver, however, passed a bill to increase the minimum wage beyond the state’s baseline.
This means Denver’s minimum wage is higher and has increased from $17.29 an hour in 2023 to $18.29 an hour in 2024.
Denver’s minimum wage increase in the next year or two is unknown but is expected to be adjusted for inflation after that.
In comparison, the Federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009 and currently sits at $7.25 an hour.
When compared to this, Denver’s minimum wage is more than double the Federal minimum wage rate. And it’s not just the state of Colorado that has raised their minimum wage!
CNN explains that 20 other states have increased their rates beyond the Federal minimum wage to help with every increasing cost of living and inflation.
This is good news for anyone moving to Colorado or looking for a new job this year.
Is it hard to get a job in Colorado?
With the uncertainty that 2020 brought everyone across the world, you may be wondering “How is the job market in Colorado today?”.
According to a recent Colorado study, the state ended 2022 with a strong job growth, with a 3.7% increase in employment from December 2021.
The top key industries that are expected to see the most growth include:
- Professional services
- Leisure and hospitality
- Finance and business
Of course, this growth projection doesn’t fully make up for all of the jobs lost in 2020 due to the pandemic but it’s a great start.
In a 2021 study done by WalletHub, Colorado Springs ranked among the top 10 best cities for jobs. Denver also ranked 55th with Aurora ranking 75th to round out the list.
Data is proving that even with the economic upheaval the state has endured, Colorado’s job market has stayed strong.
With 3 large cities in Colorado making the list of the best cities for jobs, there is plenty of opportunity to find the perfect job.
What jobs are in high demand in Colorado?
In the same report from the University of Colorado Boulder, analysts broke down the top industries and business sectors.
Nine of the top 11 business industries are expected to gain jobs this year.
The industries that were hit the hardest by the 2020 pandemic are projected to see the most growth this year as they bounce back.
Let’s dive into some of the hottest jobs that are in high demand in Colorado.
5 hottest jobs in Colorado in 2024
The data below has been gathered from the Occupational Employment Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The information is updated annually and is being taken from the June 2022 Colorado Wage Report. Here are the top 5 highest paying jobs in Colorado for 2024.
The job title “Management” is a broad term that encompasses individuals who can help provide management and direction for private or public companies and organizations.
They plan, direct, manage, and coordinate operational activities at both high and lower levels of management.
Some careers that might hold the title of management include:
- project managers
- public relations managers
- product managers
- facilities managers
- staff managers
The average hourly wage for individuals in a management role in Colorado is around $66.17 per hour and a median annual income of $137,630.
2. Legal Services
No matter what industry you’re looking for in Colorado, there’s likely a need for legal services of some kind.
Someone in the legal field could work as a city attorney, in family law, or even as an associate lawyer.
According to a 2020 report, there are approximately 28,000 lawyers in Colorado that have active licenses.
Whether you’re working as a judge in the Colorado Supreme Court, or as a paralegal trying to make it up the corporate ladder, there is a fairly large need for law services in Colorado.
The average hourly rate for individuals in a legal role in Colorado is $54.27 or about $112,890 annually.
3. Computer & Mathematical
Jobs in the computer and mathematical fields, with specializations in the information technology (IT) industries, are also in high demand this year.
This role includes expertise in planning and coordinating activities related to electronic data process, information systems, analysis, and computer programming.
Around 117,000 Coloradans, or 4.5% of the state’s workforce, have a job in computer IT.
This makes Colorado 5th in the United States as far as the percentage of the workforce working in information technologies.
And in 2020 the state employment grew by 10,000 net new jobs. Needless to say, there are an abundance of jobs for computer and mathematical workers in Colorado.
The average hourly wage for individuals in computer and mathematical roles in Colorado is $50.10 per hour with an annual salary of $104,210.
4. Architecture & Engineering
Growth and production has slowly picked up since the lull that 2020 brought in the manufacturing industries.
Now more than ever those in the architecture and engineering fields will find a need in Colorado’s job market.
From entry level architecture jobs to advanced landscape architects and database engineers, this industry offers job openings this year.
There are even architectural engineer jobs that merge both industries available in the state.
The average hourly rate for individuals in either architecture or engineering in Colorado is $47.66 or about $99,140 annually.
5. Healthcare Practitioners
Medical professionals always seem to be in high demand, and that’s no different in the state of Colorado. Those who provide care related to pregnancy, childcare, mental health, and dentistry are especially wanted.
The previous few year’s stay-at-home order became a literal breeding ground for family expansion. Which is great news for the economy!
More babies are being born so there is an ever-increasing need for medical care related to the reproductive system and general care for women.
That’s not all though. Practitioners in the mental health field, like psychiatrists and therapists are also seeing an uptick in jobs.
Psychiatrists are able to diagnose, treat, and help mental disorders of all kinds. Some experts may focus on certain specialties while others have a broader range of care.
And they can be employed at a number of places such as general medical offices, hospitals, outpatient centers, and even state or local government facilities (like schools).
The average hourly rate for healthcare professionals in Colorado is $44.74 per hour or an annual income of $93,060.
What is a good salary in Colorado compared to minimum wage?
With the information provided above, how much do you need to earn to live comfortably in Colorado? What is a good salary for the state?
In a study by Unbiased, it was found that the average annual salary for someone living in Colorado is $78,127 per year, or approximately $43 an hour.
This is the equivalent of earning $6,510 per month. And these numbers are even a bit lower than the national average of $66,665 annually.
Still, Colorado ranks number 17 nationwide, out of 50 states, for total average job salaries.
How does this salary compare to the cost of living in Colorado?
And according to our research, the baseline you can expect to spend around $6,510 per month, if you have a mortgage.
This does not include discretionary spending or additional savings you may want to stock away for retirement and other financial goals.
In order to live comfortably in Colorado, and ensure all of your bills are paid, we have determined that a good salary is between $62,000-$75,000 annually.
And since the statewide average is within this range (if only barely) it is possible to earn a decent living.
Depending on your chosen profession, you can even earn more than that state’s average mean wage, as proven by the hottest job titles listed above.