Report: Flat job growth in northern Colorado |

Report: Flat job growth in northern Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” The worst of times in northern Colorado might look like the best of times to the rest of the country, economists say.

Northern Colorado will suffer flat job growth, higher unemployment and lagging construction in 2009, but a diverse economy and well-educated work force will help insulate the area from the recession’s worst, Colorado State University economist Martin Shields says.

Larimer and Weld counties are expected to produce about 230 jobs in 2009 ” down from Shields’ prediction of 4,000 new jobs made in October.

“The earlier numbers did not anticipate the sheer magnitude of the problems that have emerged over an incredibly short time,” he said Thursday.

Some 15,700 workers are unemployed in the two counties ” up 5,000 from a year ago ” and regional economists say that number will grow. Unemployment in the area is 5.2 percent, compared with 7.2 percent nationally.

Still, Shields said, “Relative to nearly every other state, we are doing OK.”

Northern Colorado’s housing values didn’t overinflate before the recession hit, said Dave Pettigrew, a realtor at Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors. “Our prices have gone up 10 to 15 percent so we didn’t have as far to fall,” he said.

Housing values are down 0.9 percent in northern Colorado while other parts of the country have seen double-digit decreases, said Shields.

Support Local Journalism