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The Local Economy: Looking Into the 2011 Crystal Ball

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In 2010, the economic recovery promised by many economists (and politicians running for office) didn’t quite pan out. Richard Wobbekind of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Leeds School of Business took responsibility for not nailing his predictions for 2010 during yesterday’s Colorado Business Economic Forum, notes a CU news release. “We went in thinking we would be in the top 15 or 20 states for job growth in 2010, but came out in the bottom 10.” Despite his trouble lately with economic forecasting, Wobbekind didn’t hesitate to put forward his thoughts for the next year. They’re not dazzling. Colorado and the rest of the nation may see steady growth in 2011, but the “overall employment picture for Colorado” is slow. To put it another way, “We would all like a more rapid recovery, especially in terms of jobs, but we’re just not going to see that yet” (via the Denver Business Journal).

Still, if the 2011 forecast for 10,100 new jobs is accurate, it will be the first gain since 2008. However, as Longmont’s Daily Times-Call points out, the state’s population is expected to increase by 79,000 next year, and unemployment could continue to rise from the current 8.1 percent to 8.8 percent approaching 2012.

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Governor-elect John Hickenlooper also spoke yesterday, telling economists he knows of no quick fix for Colorado’s economic problems. He doesn’t see CU’s prediction as entirely glum, however: “The details show we’re not in a terrible place, but we need to roll up our sleeves and decide what part we can play getting this solved” (via The Associated Press).

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