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DENVER-According to data compiled by the Metro Denver Economic Corp., in its Monthly Economic Summary for September, the largest employment gains have occurred in the natural resources and construction, which were up 4.2% with 3,800 positions; professional and business services, up 3.3% with 6,900 positions; education and health services up 3.4% with 4,500 positions; and leisure and hospitality up 3.1% with 4,200 positions.

“We are encouraged that Colorado’s recovery continues to outpace the nation with an employment growth rate roughly 20% higher than the national rate,” says Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver EDC.

Colorado is maintaining its competitiveness when it comes to the cost of doing business, he adds. According to the 2005 Cost of Doing Business Index by the Milken Institute, business costs in Colorado are 7% below the national average. However, costs for various items throughout the US are likely to rise in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which blasted the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29. The total economic impact could top $100 billion with the most severe impacts felt throughout the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The rest of the country is likely to feel the effect more than previous natural disasters because of Katrina’s disruption to the nation’s energy supply network. Immediate impacts are expected in the energy, construction, and tourism sectors. “Given the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, we will continue to keep a watchful eye locally for potential economic impact,” Clark says.

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