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Colorado Outlook not as bleak as nation ~ DBJ reports

Posted on January 29, 2009 by Ray Williams (NMLS #216267).

I always am an advocate of news that is prevalent to us here in Colorado. So many of us here national news, but not local. Recession, real estate… you name it if you turn on the TV or pick up a paper it is all bad, but written by Washington Post or NY Times writers on the nation, not Colorado.

Here is an article put out by DBJ writer Renee McGaw~ Enjoy~

“Colorado is about two-thirds of the way through a recession that will end in late 2009, VectraBank Colorado’s chief economist said Wednesday at the bank’s annual economic forecast breakfast.

Most economists believe the national recession will end in the third or fourth quarter, economist Jeff Thredgold said. “I’m more of a fourth-quarter guy, myself.”

The U.S. recession, now in its 13th month, is the result of a “de-leveraging of a financial house of cards that was built up over the past 10 years,” Thredgold said. “We will get out of this. We will get through this.”

Vectra’s 16th annual Economic Forecast Breakfast was held at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Donald R. Seawell ballroom.

Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., said the state has been through worse.

“This is my fourth recession,” Clark said. “It’s like a bad marriage — it’s not very good, it’s self-destructive, but it’s pretty familiar and comfortable.”

Clark reminded the audience about Colorado’s downturn in the 1980s, the “flat spot” in the 1990s, and the dot-com bust of the early 2000s, when the state lost about 85,000 jobs in two years.

“The rest of the nation is doing much worse than we are,” Clark said. “If our unemployment rate was the same as it was in 1984, there would be 40,000 fewer people working today in metropolitan Denver than are. So this is a little bit about having the coolest seat in hell.”

Colorado has advantages now that it didn’t have in the past, including an economy that now ranks as among the top five most diversified in the country, Clark said. Prospect activity at the Metro Denver EDC was about the same at the end of 2008 as it was at the end of 2007, at about $455 million in capital investment, he said. Thirty companies have moved their corporate headquarters to Denver since 2003, he said.

Because Colorado’s economy is stronger than that of other states, “migration will come here,” Clark said. “People will move to places where they think they will have economic opportunity. Even with the Internet, they keep coming two years after you run out of jobs to give them.”

As a result, Colorado’s unemployment rate will rise in 2009, he said.

Patty Silverstein, president of Development Research Partners in Littleton and chief economist for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., said the state can’t escape the national recession entirely.

“We are heading into negative territory in terms of employment growth,” Silverstein said.

Colorado’s job base will decline by 0.4 percent in 2009, she said. That would be the seventh year in its history that the state has lost more jobs than it created, and the third year since 2000.

Colorado’s job growth was a feeble 0.2 percent in the 12 months through November, the latest month for which data is available from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. December and full-year 2008 job data is due out on Jan. 27.

Silverstein forecast that Colorado’s unemployment rate would average 6.4 percent in 2009, up from the current 5.8 percent rate. Consumer prices will rise 2.2 percent in Colorado, while retail sales will be flat.

However, Colorado home prices will show a slight gain of 1 percent, and the median home price will rise to $228,000, in 2009, Silverstein said.

Total personal income will rise 2.7 percent in 2009, she said. During the first three quarters of 2008, Coloradans’ personal income growth has averaged just under 1.2 percent, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Colorado’s personal income growth was nevertheless the fourth fastest-growing in the nation in the third quarter.”

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