Will Vestas Furloughs Cap Colorado's "Lost Decade"?

December 8 2009, 10:46 AM

450px-VestasturbineIt comes as a surprise that Vestas, the Denmark-based wind-turbine company that's been touted by local officials, including Governor Bill Ritter, as a bright star of the new-energy economy, will halt production at its Windsor manufacturing plant for an undetermined period of time. Most, if not all, 500 employees will be forced into furlough, according to 9News. The jobs aren't lost, Vestas says, but the news isn't great in this troubled economy, which, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder's Leeds School of Business, is apparently starting to stabilize. Still, the state will continue to lose jobs---about 3,200 in 2010, a drop in the bucket compared to the loss of roughly 100,000 jobs this year, says CU economist Richard Wobbekind (via the Denver Business Journal). In a report released by CU yesterday, the state's estimated 7.3 percent unemployment rate will rise to an estimated 8.1 percent but will remain below the national rate. "I think people will be disappointed to hear that we think there will be continued job loss in 2010, but in relative terms it will seem like we're in recovery because the job loss is very small compared to what has happened in 2009," Wobbekind says, calling the years since 2000 a "lost decade" for Colorado.

Just 117,900 jobs were created in that time, as the population rose by 870,000 people. One bit of good news is that the professional businesses sector should see growth. "This is a very important sector for Colorado because it includes important sectors in technology, and many of the jobs are high-paying," Wobbekind writes (via Longmont's Daily Times-Call). "But it also includes temporary workers who can be viewed as a leading economic indicator of the future condition of the overall job market."