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NCBR Economic Forecast Presents Tepid View Of Northern Colorado Economy

Nathan Heffel
Members of Northern Colorado's business community meet at UNC

Like the rest of the state, northern Colorado is starting to recover from the worst economic recession in decades. Hundreds of business leaders packed the annual Northern Colorado Business Report’s economic forecast event Thursday, to hear what’s in store for the region’s economy this year.

What’s the state of Northern Colorado’s economy?  Improving...at a slow and steady pace. That’s according to Dr. Martin Shields, Professor of Economics at Colorado State University.

“The economy is turning around a little bit and strengthening from 2011 and offering some increased optimism, but at the same time this is a long road to hoe, and we’re continuing to struggle that way.”

News of Wind Turbine manufacturer Vestas cutting thousands of jobs worldwide is not a positive sign for the regions clean energy job market. Tim Resser CEO of Cenergy, a commercial green tech division of Colorado State University, says with the federal wind energy tax credit slated to expire at the end of the year, Northern Colorado clean tech jobs, while safe for now, may be in danger down the road.

“Many of these clean energy providers will find sustainability and find ways to sustain even if policy doesn’t go, but it’s not as robust and jobs are at risk.”

As expected the oil and gas industry continues to see unprecedented growth in the northern part of the state. Colorado Oil and Gas Association President Tisha Conoly-Schuller says while oil and gas expansion in the region remains robust, it’s taking a tempered approach to growth, which may mean fewer jobs then some have predicted.

“So we anticipate that we’re going to see both the creation of local jobs, and the creation of support jobs -- we have to be very systematic about how we go about it so there will be continued growth, but it will be at a measured pace.”

While all the panelists remained cautious about future economic growth, each confirmed Northern Colorado is on the right track toward recovery.