More Jobs for Colorado

Gov. Owens won't name the company or the number of jobs, but the agreement involves a company already in Colorado that will expand its existing operations in the state in about two months.

Owens says the groundwork for the business expansion that will yield the new jobs had been in the works before the European trip, and he solidified the deal with the company's executives while in Switzerland.

Over the last two years, thousands of Coloradans have lost their jobs. And state government has suffered its worst fiscal shortfall since the 1930s, as tax revenues dropped due to rising unemployment and consumers spending less.

Despite the sofening economy, 20,000 more people moved to Colorado than left it last year. Similar numbers are expected to settle in the state this year. Though migration slowed by 70% last year, Colorado needed to add about 8,000 jobs for the newcomers it received. Instead it lost 32,000.

Economists say the state needs job growth of about 2% per year just to meet its own internal growth, but only 1% is expected.

During the 1990's, Colorado boasted the country's fourth fastest job growth rate as it churned out thousands of technology, telecommunications and service jobs. The state created so many jobs that an average of 70,000 newcomers a year moved here during that decade. Even then, the unemployment rate kept falling.