Experts say Colorado's economy will continue to boom through 2015

Aldo Svaldi --- The Denver Post 

Colorado's economy is heading into its best three-year stretch since the dot-com boom, according to the 2015 Colorado Business Economic Outlook.

"This is a very strong run," said Richard Wobbekind, an economist with the University of Colorado Leed's School of Business, who will present the state's most closely followed economic forecast on Monday afternoon in Denver.

Complaints about labor shortages will become more common next year, pushing wages higher and dampening overall job growth, he said.

"A lot of sectors are talking about the lack of available labor, even leisure and hospitality," he said.

The 2015 Outlook calls for the state to add 61,300 jobs next year, the same number predicted a year ago for 2014. With three weeks left in the year, the Outlook now expects Colorado's job gains will come in at 72,900 for 2014.

The Outlook is calling for job growth of 2.5 percent next year, down from 3 percent the past two years, as tighter labor markets and lower oil prices slow the pace of hiring.

If 2015 pans out as expected, it will be the best three-year stretch for job gains in Colorado since 1998 to 2000, when job growth averaged 3.8 percent a year.

Hiring next year will be strongest in professional and business services, a higher paying sector expected to add 12,800 jobs next year. Leisure and hospitality, where wages are much lower, is expected to add 11,200 jobs.

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