At almost 600,000 people strong, Colorado’s current and former public service workers represent about 10 percent of the state’s total population. Their economic impact is even more pronounced, and it’s an influence that underscores why Colorado PERA’s mission is so important.
As of a year ago, PERA’s impact on the state economy was estimated to be about $6.1 billion per year, supporting almost 33,000 jobs directly or indirectly. These figures were up from $5.2 billion and 30,000 jobs just three years earlier.
The beneficiaries of this are not just PERA retirees but all Coloradans. That’s because so many folks that receive PERA retirement distributions are spending that hard-earned money on goods and services right here at home rather than taking it elsewhere. This creates a ripple effect wherein retirees aren’t just buying food or clothes or various services, they’re also sustaining and creating demand that, over time, can motivate the vendors to expand their businesses, creating a virtuous circle of economic prosperity.
PERA’s contributions to Colorado don’t end there. The investment portfolio includes $566 million in state-based investments, including public and private equity in Colorado companies, various bonds, and real estate investments. PERA subjects these investments to the same rigorous criteria it applies to all its holdings. And of course, PERA itself is a local organization that employs about 300 people and pays annual retirement benefits to about 121,000 Colorado residents, the ones whose pebbles of spending generate that ripple effect throughout the state.
Anyone who’s lived in Colorado for very long quickly recognizes the bottomless pride the people here have about where they’ve chosen to put down roots. In that sense, Colorado PERA’s dedication to home is merely reflecting the hopes and dreams of its many members.
To read more about PERA’s investments in Colorado, and other ways the organization serves as a good steward of members’ dollars, read PERA’s 2019 Investment Stewardship Report.