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Northern Colorado 2012 economic forecast: Occupy the job market

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On January 12th, during the Economic Forecast hosted by the Northern Colorado Business Report, Dr. Martin Shields shared hesitant optimism that 2012 will be a year of "slow recovery." This theme was shared among the five sectors represented - technology, banking and finance, agribusiness, oil and gas, and commercial real estate. What does this mean for your job search if you are targeting Northern Colorado employers?

Although it may not feel like it, 2011 was also a year of slow growth, with US GDP back at pre-recession growth rates and an addition of 1900 jobs locally bringing the area back to 99% of pre-recession employment levels. In 2012, Dr. Shields estimated an additional 2700+ jobs will be added in the area, possibly cutting employment by 1% during the year.

The most upwardly mobile industries for job growth will be energy, food manufacturing, healthcare, and professional business services. In the energy sector, oil and gas operations will have solid growth, adding new wells of which 40% are in Weld County. Agribusiness is also seeing a wild ride, with many areas doing well due to feed supply issues in Texas. Companies to watch include Anadarko, Noble, Super Vac, and Banner Health.

For the last three years, the average unemployment has been a steady 22 weeks (more than five months) instead of a historical eight or nine weeks. For job seekers this has a few implications:

Pace yourself. Although there are strategies you can use to speed your search, it is going to take time and consistent, positive energy to land a good-fit position.

Get focused. The competition is high and companies are moving fast and are bottom-line focused. They want to hire someone who knows their skill set, has the skill set the company needs, and can plug in to deliver immediate value.

Be the solution. Develop materials and talking points that speak to your ability to solve problems of your target employers or industries and tie your skills to results.

Think ahead. Gone are the days of sitting behind your desk, doing your work, and being unaware of the company/industry trends. Know what is on the horizon for your business and how you will add value during the inevitable evolution. Keep active in your network - in person and online. If you are employed, start working towards five months of savings. This will make the search much more pleasant if things head south for your company.

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