DENVER-It looked like the worst might be over in the first half of the year, with employment growth down only 0.2% from the previous year in the Denver metro area. But a recent report by Hendricks & Partners notes the “uncertain direction of the national economy hit home for Denver’s metro area, as employment levels once again slid in the third quarter, down by 1.9% on a year-over-year basis.”

By the end of September, the Denver-area had lost 22,000 high-tech and telecommunication jobs, with economists predicting a continued soft job market through 2003.

The report notes demand for apartment improved in the first nine months of the year, leading to the absorption of 5,242 units, the market continued struggling with rising vacancy rates.

The rates rose from new construction, as well as renters moving into homes as they took advantage of low interest rates, the report notes.

By the end of the third quarter, the average rent was $829, compared with $852, a year earlier, the overall vacancy rate had risen to 9.4% from 7% in 2001, according to Hendricks.

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