DENVER-Neither a slowing economy nor the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Colorado’s construction industry in 2001, according to the 37th Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum. The forum, presented by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder and KeyBank, notes there was already so much momentum that it carried new projects forward.

That won’t be the case in 2002.

“In 2002, however, there will be significantly less construction activity,” the report notes. “This situation will not be terrible by historical standards as the volume of work will still be similar to the healthy years of 2997 and 1998.”

The report projects construction employment will drop 6.1%–10,000 workers–to 153,000.

“While not a trivial adjustment, this will still place the 2002 job level above that for 1999 and earlier years,” according to the report. There were 147,000 people working in the construction industry in 1999.

Next year will be the first time construction employment dropped from the previous year in a decade.

From 1998 to 2000, construction employment grew by more than 30%.

The report notes that builders have been reluctant to cut their workforces because of recent labor shortages. But next year, builders will be looking to reduce payrolls, as there are fewer projects to build.

The report projects $9.05 billion in total construction projects in Colorado in 2002, down from the $10.75 billion this year. Next year’s tally would be the lowest level since 1996, when total construction stood at $7.97 billion.

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