Economic forecast calls for strong 2013

DENVER – Colorado’s economy is poised to have a strong year in 2013, and the state is expected to gain 42,100 jobs, according to a forecast prepared by the state’s top economists and business leaders.

The University of Colorado’a Leeds School of Business released its Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2013 on Monday. The forecast predicts strong growth in almost all industries and sectors and employment growth that beats the national average.
“For the state, we see a very positive environment for 2013,´ said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of CU’s Business Research Division, which wrote the forecast. “We’re seeing a wide array of jobs being added, and they’re diversifying our state economy.”

Next year’s growth will build on momentum gained this year, when Colorado added 47,900 jobs. Colorado is expected to be in the top 10 states for job growth in 2013 and perhaps in the top six or seven, according to Wobbekind.

If the forecast is accurate, Colorado’s unemployment rate will fall from 8 percent in 2012 to 7.4 percent in 2013, which is comparatively better than the national jobless rate.

But growth might not be evenly distributed throughout the year, Wobbekind said in a media release in advance of his annual presentation Monday afternoon at the Denver Marriott City Center in downtown Denver.

The forecast predicts that growth in the first and second quarters might be slowed by national and international issues, such as budget negotiations in Washington and Europe’s ongoing debt crisis.

“Resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff and the resolution of the European debt crisis will have impacts on the national economy, and 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,” he said.
Federal budget decisions could have a major impact on the Boulder area, especially on the University of Colorado-Boulder, federal laboratories such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research and National Renewable Energy Laboratory and small tech firms that rely on research-and-development money from the federal government.

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