Job growth to continue in state next year

DENVER – Colorado is expected to be among the top five states for job growth in 2014 – with 61,300 new jobs – according to the annual economic outlook from the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

The 2014 projection for new jobs is down slightly from the 66,900 jobs Colorado has added so far this year, according to the outlook from CU economist Richard Wobbekind with the Leeds School. Wobbekind will present the economic outlook for the coming year today at 1 p.m. today at the Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California St., Denver.

Unemployment is expected to remain below 7 percent in 2014, a smaller percent than the national unemployment rate, according to the outlook, according to a press statement released Monday prior to Wobbekind’s presentation.

The professional and business services sector is expected to be the strongest sector for projected job growth in 2014 – with 14,200 new jobs. The total would be an increase of 3.8 percent from this year’s growth in the sector, according to the outlook. Other leading sectors include construction, which is expected to add 11,000 jobs in 2014, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which is expected to grow by 9,100 jobs.

If national political and fiscal uncertainty subsides, Colorado could see even more job growth in the professional and business services sector, Wobbekind said in a press statement.

“Colorado has strategic advantages in the professional and business services sector, given the highly educated workforce, innovative spirit and small-business base that we have in the state,” Wobbekind said.

Federal budget problems, including sequestration, the debt limit, Federal Reserve policy and health-care reform all could negatively impact expected economic growth in 2014, according to the outlook.

Colorado’s population also is expected to growth by 1.7 percent to nearly 5.4 million people next year, according to the outlook.

Also scheduled for the Denver outlook event is a keynote address by Doug Suttles, president and chief executive of Encana Corp., an energy company. At 3 p.m., three concurrent sessions will be presented: NAFTA 20 Years Out, Denver Metro Real Estate Market, and Fires, Floods and Drought: Assessing the Impacts. A networking reception will begin at 4:30 p.m.

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