Local Economy

Limon is an established regional retail center serving local citizens and the traveling public with no other full-service town for more than 70 miles. The population in Limon accounts for a third of the total population in Lincoln County, yet 75% of retail sales in Lincoln County originate in Limon.

Since 2011, the growth of renewable energy, in the form of wind farms, is significantly adding to the local economy through contruction and the long-term technicians required to maintain and operate the growing number of wind turbines in the area.

The agricultural sector is based on the farms and ranches that not only produce crops and livestock, but also depend on local suppliers for goods and services. Of the 1,655,000 acres in Lincoln County, 1,499,785 acres were devoted to farming and ranching in 2017. That same year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated there were 489 farms and ranches in the county with an average farm size of nearly 3,067 acres. 

The market value of agricultural products sold in 2017 was $67.9 million. The value of livestock sales accounted for 41 percent, or approximately $27.9 million, of the total value. The primary livestock inventories include cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, and hogs and pigs. Crop sales, valued at nearly $40 million, accounted for the remaining 59 percent. Crops produced in Lincoln County consist primarily of wheat, hay, corn, sorghum, and sunflower seeds.

In recent years Limon has made a strong effort to increase its appeal as a location for primary industries. The Town partnered with the Ports-to-Plains Alliance which advocates a four-lane alternative trade route from Mexico to Canada. The Town also received Foreign Trade Zone status which offers deferral, reduction or elimination of customs tariffs on imported goods depending on whether the goods are sold to the U.S. market, combined with U.S. products or re-exported outside the U.S. after import. These efforts, along with Limon’s location at the intersection of an interstate, four major highways and its proximity to the Front Range economy, mean that Limon is also well positioned for interstate and international commerce.

Industry Employment

Major Employers

The list of major employers for Lincoln County is shown for 2014, and is still current.

Government is the largest employer, as it includes the regional and local governments, public school districts, the Limon Correctional Facility and the Lincoln Community Hospital. Separately, the correctional facility and hospital are top employers themselves. The major employers for Limon also include Mountain View Electric and the two truck stops.

Commuting Patterns

According to 2016 Labor Shed and Commuter Shed data from the U.S. Census, 48.5% of the workforce in Lincoln County reside within the county, while the remaining 51.5% of Primary Market Area (PMA) workers live in other surrounding counties of eastern Colorado, predominantly the counties of El Paso, Elbert, Pueblo and Arapahoe. Conversely, of the residents of Lincoln County, 48.8% work within county boundaries while the remaining 51.2% work in other counties of Colorado, most commonly in El Paso, Denver and Arapahoe counties. These trends indicate that the majority of the persons employed in the county live outside of it, and the PMA will continue to draw owners and renters from outside of the region, especially as new quality housing becomes available. Although a high percentage of Lincoln County residents work outside of the county, they likely reside within the PMA but work outside of it due to the lower costs of living within Lincoln County.

Personal Income Trends

Personal income, as provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on a county‐wide level, indicates the income that is received by persons from work, government and business transfer payments, and government interest. A comparison of county level data to state and national data can indicate how well the county’s economy is performing relative to the state and nation. 

The table below shows that, from 2007 through 2016, personal income in Lincoln County has increased at a slower rate than the state of Colorado and at a slower rate than the United States. The county had its slowest rate of personal income index growth from 2009 to 2013, when it decreased 2.4 points per year, while its most rapid growth was experienced from 2013 to 2016, at an average increase of 4.6 points annually. From the start of 2014 through 2016, the personal income index increased 1.6 points per year in the county, 4.7 points annually in the state, and 4.6 points per year in the country.

Wages

The average annual wage of employees who work in Lincoln County and are covered by unemployment insurance was $37,447 in 2017.

The highest paying industries in Limon, CO, by median earnings, are Utilities ($64,091), Transportation & Warehousing, & Utilities ($61,771), and Transportation & Warehousing ($60,313).

The highest paying industries in Lincoln County, CO, by median earnings, are Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services ($73,750), Utilities ($62,955), and Wholesale Trade ($62,563).