02-13-2009, 07:36 AM
A job infusion for Colorado
The economic stimulus could mean 60,000 jobs in the state, but some question the forecasts.
By Miles Moffeit
The Denver Post
Posted: 02/13/2009 12:30:00 AM MST
An estimated 60,000 Colorado jobs could be created or saved over the next two years under Congress' compromise economic-stimulus plan, according to an analysis released by the Obama administration Thursday.
Colorado would rank 22nd among states reaping a share of the 3.5 million jobs projected by the administration to be created or saved nationally. California leads the pack with an expected 396,000 jobs.
But the figures, conditioned on final approval of the $789 billion recovery plan, met with skepticism from economists who believe it could take much longer for such hiring to pan out.
Colorado Springs economist Tucker Hart Adams cautioned that the estimates could be too optimistic and fail to factor in lengthy bidding and
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contracting processes required for jumbo highway and facility projects.
"It's a very soft number for a lot of reasons," she said. "There's no way there can be very much immediate job impact — we're talking a lot of spending and building buildings and putting money into research."
Heavily suburban Congressional District 6, spanning the southern swath of the Denver area, would get the biggest payoff in Colorado at 9,000 jobs, according to the analysis. A breakdown specifying how various employment sectors would benefit wasn't available, but the White House predicted energy, construction and health care to be big winners.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said Colorado stood to gain 63,000 estimated jobs before amendments to the stimulus bill drove the figure down in recent days.
"This is a jump-start, not a liftoff" for the economy, said Tara Trujillo, Udall's communications director. "Liftoff over the long term is going to take more effort, including getting the credit and financial markets repaired."
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat whose District 7 could see 7,600 new or saved jobs, called the stimulus package "a substantial step forward in getting our country back on track."
Economist Tucker Hart Adams speaks at the Sharkey, Howes & Javer client event at the Marriott Denver Cherry Creek in Denver. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)
More than 90 percent of the new jobs expected to be created nationally would be in the private sector, according to research provided by President Barack Obama's economic advisers.
"The economy is struggling more than this package is up to solving," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, told The Associated Press.
Zandi estimates the bill will create just more than 2 million jobs by the end of 2010. But the recession will probably end up wiping out 6.5 million jobs.
Miles Moffeit: 303-954-1415 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The big picture
3.5 million Jobs to be created or saved, the White House says
60,000 Jobs in the state, where unemployment is 6.1 percent