Not only do we anticipate 2012 continuing modest growth, but 2011 was better than originally reported according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ updates on the preliminary data releases they issued in 2011. Given we had forecasted a return to growth for 2011 in late 2010, we were surprised with BLS’ originally reported declines in Colorado Springs wage and salary employment. As it turns out our original forecasts for 2011 were reasonably accurate. The two graphs show labor and salary employment as originally reported and then as updated.
Hopefully our 2012 forecast will be accurate as well. Despite rising energy prices, we see continued growth, consistent with 2011 locally and better nationally. Nationally, the growth is being fueled by:
- Optimism of an election year,
- Lack of Federal austerity,
- Low mortgage rates,
- Stabilizing housing markets,
- Growth in U.S. manufacturing,
- Consumers feeling bolder.
On the state and local levels, non-residential construction is strong at military installations, the Southern Delivery System, and data centers. The Multi-family apartment market is robust with construction which will accelerate into 2012-13. The commercial real estate market will see improvement in the Denver metro area, but not much in Southern Colorado
The bottom line is Colorado continues to grow despite slow job growth. It’s all a matter of relativity – Colorado relative to the nation. Peyton Manning’s interest in the Denver Broncos because of the quality of life is indicative of our most fundamental strength.
The real concern is for 2013 and beyond. Federal austerity is a given at some point. The time to focus on economic development in Southern Colorado is now!