DENVER Job prospects are looking better in 2011 for computer scientists and engineers. For construction workers and government employees, the next year will get worse.
Thats according to the annual economic outlook by the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business.
The national economy should grow slowly next year, and the 18-month recession is officially over. But the dreary news is far from over.
To the average American, the end of the recession is not as clear, said Richard Wobbekind, associate dean of the CU business school.
Wobbekind presented the forecast Monday to about 300 people at a Denver hotel. More than 90 people worked on the report, which is one of the most closely watched forecasts in the state.
Colorado ranked in the bottom 10 states for economic growth in 2010, according to the CU report, even though fewer people are out of work in Colorado than the country as a whole.
For La Plata County Southwest Colorados main economic center the news is just as bad. Last years report predicted a worsening situation for the southwestern corner of the state, and the prediction proved true.
The economy did continue to weaken over 2010, and there is no reason to believe the trends will reverse course, according to the report.
Real estate and construction will remain especially weak in La Plata County next year, the report said.
However, La Platas unemployment rate remains below the state and national averages, the report says.
Natural-gas prices will remain low well into 2011. Demand for carbon-dioxide exports from Montezuma County will see a slight increase, the report said.
Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper told the crowd that he would launch an effort to re-imagine Colorados economy. He promised a series of regional meetings in the first six months of 2011.
Were not in a terrible place, but we do all need to roll up our sleeves and say, What can we do to get to a better place? Hickenlooper said.
The CU report predicts Colorado will add 10,100 jobs next year enough to make only a small dent in the 140,000 jobs the state lost during the recession. The state unemployment rate will climb to 8.8 percent as more people try to get back into the work force, Wobbekind said.
If the prediction comes true, it will be the first time since 2008 that Colorado added jobs.
Despite the slow growth, more people are expected to move to Colorado than to leave. The continued growth of the population means real estate will remain a good long-term investment, Wobbekind said.
A growing population also will bring new jobs in health care, he said.
White-collar jobs in the private sector will increase next year. The business services sector which includes engineers, computer programmers and scientists will add a predicted 7,000 jobs.
But the construction sector will lose 7,000 jobs.
A government job isnt a safe haven anymore, either. The report predicts that for the first time in 20 years that the combination of local, state and federal governments will lose jobs (an estimated 1,800 positions).
Finally, the farm and ranch economy will be one of the states healthiest sectors, according to the report. Led by cattle ranchers, the agriculture sector will grow $90 million to $6.9 billion.