CU economist: Colorado could add 42K jobs in 2013

Assuming the debt crises here and abroad are mostly resolved, Colorado could gain as many as 42,100 jobs in 2013, compared with 47,900 jobs this year, according to a forecast released Monday by economists at UC Boulder.

“For the state, we see a very positive environment for 2013,” Richard Wobbekind of the university’s Leeds Schools of Business said. “We’re seeing a wide array of jobs being added and they’re diversifying our state economy.”

The biggest threats: the U.S. “fiscal cliff” and turmoil in overseas markets.

“Resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff and resolution of the European debt crisis will have impacts on the national economy that will filter down to the state level,” Wobbekind said. “Once that uncertainty gets resolved, we then expect business investments to start flowing again and consumers to start making decisions based on a known environment. We think the recovery will be quite a bit smoother after that.”

Wobbekind and his team’s forecast is based on an examination of hiring trends in 13 sectors. The forecast was to be unveiled Monday in the CU Leeds School of Business annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook event in Denver.
Colorado, Wobbekind said, should be in the top 10 states for job growth in 2013.

The sector that is expected to gain the most jobs in Colorado in the coming year is health services. The sector is expected to add 7,600 jobs in 2013.

Other leading sectors include professional and business services, with 7,400 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, with 5,000 workers added.

Colorado’s largest provider of jobs, the trade, transportation and utilities sector, is expected to grow by 1.4 percent with the addition of 5,600 jobs.

Construction, one of the industries hardest-hit by the recession, is expected to grow by 6,300 jobs in 2013, compared with a 2,800-job increase in 2012.

The industry is expected to produce $12.6 billion in total value of construction. Most of the work will stem from infrastructure and multi-family projects.

“It’s great to be giving positive news to people year after year,” Wobbekind said of the overall forecast. “Confidence levels nationally are at their highest levels in five years. We’re really starting to see a lot more optimism on the part of the average person on the street about the future.”

Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR

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