As the American people suffer job loss and economic hardship in one of the nation’s greatest recessions, a CSU economics professor said there is hope on the horizon for Northern Colorado after forecast results predicted Weld and Larimer counties can expect the addition of 250 extra jobs this year.
In light of results from the bi-annual job forecast, conducted by regional economist and associate CSU economics professor Martin Shields and CSU research associate David Keyser, Shields said in addition to the .1 percent job increase, he predicts the national economy will improve this summer and Colorado will follow.
“Right now it’s a tough job market for everyone . white collar and blue collar (jobs) are equally being affected,” Shields said, adding that he predicts the economy will “turn around nationally by mid to late-summer and Colorado will follow that.”
A separate study conducted by CSU economics professor Harvey Cutler and released in mid- January, reported CSU employees and its alumni produced $4.1 billion in revenue in Colorado in 2008.
“A lot of sectors, including CSU, tend to do better in these downturns,” Shields said, adding that the northern Colorado economy does not rely on revenues from large corporations like those in the auto industry and the banking industry.
Shields linked the university’s revenue generations with the presence of a college-educated workforce.
“CSU has more alumni living in the state than other universities; there are alumni in every county in Colorado,” Shields said.
“Higher education has dramatic and statewide implications. It makes everyone more productive in the state.”
CSU, the region’s largest employer Shields said, has approximately 6,200 employees who finance the local economy when buying homes, groceries, providing local income tax among others.
When asked about the future of job-hunting for recent college graduates, Shields said younger workers, 22 to 23-years-old, can anticipate filling the jobs left open by the nation’s baby boomers as they start to retire in the next few years.
“The good thing is that for the long-term, all the baby boomers are going to be retiring,” Shields said. “There’s not enough 22-year-olds or 23-year-olds to replace all of them.”
Students stressed the importance of acquiring marketable job skills as a way to stand out to employers.
Wendy Whittaker, a senior English major, said finding a job is “not so much about finding your niche as it is making yourself a marketable employee.”
As for developing a more successful future economy, Shields said people have to start thinking “long-term” and a healthier economy will come with simple changes in visions.
“The economy would get better soon by simple changes in visions,” Shields said. “We have to start thinking long-term.”
Real estate and finance officials from CSU said that one government sector in particular is not to blame for the recession and suggested that a change in homeownership policies, not a government bailout, is a possible solution.
“I don’t think all these bailouts are gonna help,” said Steve Laposa, CSU associate Real Estate and Finance professor. “That’s for doggone sure.”
Shields, too, suggested modifying existing economic policies and said investments in education; new infrastructure and transportation systems are among the solutions to creating an improved national economy.
There also needs to be a “new foresight in economic policy handling,” he said.
Staff writer Brian Anthony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.