In late October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its first estimate of September employment data for Colorado. Based on that report, the state is on track to lose 35,000 jobs in 2010. (Preliminary 2010 data will be released in March 2011.)
Recently, many of the nation’s top economists have revised their 2011 Real GDP forecasts downward, in the range of 1.9% to 2.6%. Output growth of 2.4% points to a miniscule job increase of 0.7%, or 15,000 jobs, for Colorado next year.
This Colorado economic forecast was shared with state business and government leaders this past week. A summary of the responses from these individuals follows:
- The country should be concerned about the effect the Lost Decade will have on its competitiveness.
- The recent announcement that Q3 Real GDP was 2.0% is better than expected; however, if output growth continues at this level next year, Colorado cannot expect meaningful job growth.
- The lack of overall growth in the economy is reflected in the real estate market.
- Colorado typically lags the nation in entering and exiting economic downturns. Colorado’s exit from the Great Recession seems to be slower than that of the nation – despite lower unemployment.
- For some time, I’ve been concerned about unrealistic expectations for growth in consumer demand, given the deleveraging overhang and unemployment.
- Colorado’s major wealth creation industry – mineral extraction – continues to be hobbled by policy, yet Wyoming is projecting a healthy recovery in the months ahead- thanks to their policies regarding extractive minerals.
- Southwest Colorado is no better than the Front Range.
- The word that best describes the Western Slope economy is “lagging.” We’re used to growing faster than the state; recently we were losing jobs faster, although those declines have slowed.
- There is a reasonable chance that Colorado will experience back-to-back-to-back job losses.
- We are seeing more inquiries, which hopefully will bode well for our local economy.
- We are seeing more inquiries, but they are not translating into sales – yet.
- Efforts are being made to manipulate the housing and equity markets to create the illusion that the economy is better than it really is. The hope is that if consumers see their net worth rise, then they will start spending again. This makeshift effort does not eliminate the fundamental problems.
While these comments are not intended to be a representative sample of all Coloradans, they support the belief that the prospects for a solid recovery are not in the immediate future.
©Copyright 2011 by CBER.