Colorado's economy should continue to advance next year, adding jobs in all but one sector and ranking among the top five states for employment growth, according to the 2014 Colorado Business Economic Outlook.
"With Colorado's skilled workforce, high-tech diversified economy, relatively low cost of doing business, global economic access and exceptional quality of life, the state is poised for long-term economic growth," said Richard Wobbekind, an economist with the University of Colorado at Boulder's Leeds School of Business, which prepared the 49th annual Outlook.
The forecast calls for the state to add 61,300 jobs next year, compared with 66,900 jobs this year. A year ago, the forecast undershot the mark by calling for 42,100 net new jobs in Colorado in 2013.
Professional and business services will be the strongest sector in terms of jobs created, with 14,200 jobs projected for a 3.8 percent increase.
A 14.8 percent increase in construction spending, mostly residential, is expected to boost construction employment by 8.7 percent, or 11,000 jobs.
"After the deep recession we encountered as a state and a nation, it is really a relief to be reporting strong positive job growth in Colorado," Wobbekind said in a statement.
Job gains will be widespread, with only information, which covers publishing and telecommunications, expected to end the year with fewer employees.
The employment increases are expected to push the unemployment rate down in the state from an average of 6.9 percent in 2013 to 6.4 percent in 2014.
The forecast calls for Colorado's population to grow 1.7 percent to 5.4 million, with most of the increases concentrated along the northern Front Range.
Retail sales are projected to grow 5 percent in 2014, up from 4.2 percent this year. Consumer inflation is expected to drop to 2.1 percent, from 2.8 percent this year.
More than 100 people helped prepare the Outlook, which is the state's most comprehensive and closely followed forecast.