ST. CLOUD -- Economists gave their economic outlook for 2013 yesterday (Thursday) at the River's Edge Convention Center during the 51st annual Winter Institute.

A panel made up of four economists all agree that Minnesota's economic outlook appears to be in good shape this year. However, they disagree on how good.

Minnesota's unemployment rate is currently at 5.5 percent which is below the national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

Minnesota State Economist, Tom Stinson says he expects Minnesota to track the U.S. unemployment rate or do better. He forecasts a significant increase of employment in the construction industry.

Stinson says he thinks that there will be a big increase in housing starts. He also says a change in demographics with many people reaching the retirement age within the next decade will continue to help Minnesota job growth.

He was criticized by fellow economists for being too optimistic.

St. Cloud State University professor, King Banaian says the economy is not in the clear yet.

DEED's Labor Market Information Office Director, Steve Hine says the teen unemployment rate remains flat and has seen no improvement since the economic recovery began.

He says he expects the economy to make a full recovery by the end of 2013. The event was sponsored by SCSU's School of Public Affairs.