Colorado has been on a slow and steady economic recovery over the past couple years, and that trend should improve this year.
Patty Silverstein, president of Development Research Partners, presented an economic forecast for the Denver metro area for 2013 during the Arvada Chamber of Commerce’s Third Friday Legislative Breakfast Jan. 18.
She defines the Denver metro region as a seven-county region area from Boulder County to Douglas County.
“We have been going forward, and we expect in 2013 that we will continue to grow and expand, but at a slow rate,” Silverstein said.
Metro area unemployment tends to stay below the nation’s. In 2012, the average metro unemployment rate was 7.7 percent whereas the nation’s was 8.1 percent.
“We expect the unemployment rate will continue to drift downward a little bit in 2013,” Silverstein said.
Silverstein predicts the unemployment rate for the Denver metro area will be 7.5 percent this year with the nation’s at 7.9.
In 2009-10, 64,000 jobs were lost in the Denver metro area.
But by 2013, 74,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the metro area.
Of the metro area’s 12 industrial clusters, which include aviation, aerospace, health care and information technology, five have experienced growth over the past years, Silverstein said. Colorado’s aerospace industry is now the second largest in the country behind California.
Consumers are spending more money too, Silverstein said.
Last year was the year of big-ticket purchases, such as appliances and cars, she said.
“In 2013, we expect to see a bit of a pullback in that spending level,” she said. “Again, still growing, but growing at a slightly slower pace because a lot of those big ticket item purchases happened in 2012.”
A consistent marketplace also helped increase the number of homes that were sold last year and reduce the number of homes foreclosed.
Both trends are expected to continue.
Global economic challenges, unemployment rates and businesses still seeking clarity on healthcare, taxes and government spending can make the forecast look dim, Silverstein said.
But there are economic opportunities for residents and businesses in 2013 with low interest rates, strong consumer spending and an improving real estate, she said.