Oh crystal ball, what’s 2012 hold for ME?

In what some (specifically, me) call the “Lollapalooza of Maine Economic Events,” University of Southern Maine Muskie School Prof. Charles Colgan will present his annual economic forecast next Tuesday.

Colgan, for those of you who don’t know, is the state’s alpha economist. Want to know about the economics of tourism? Call Charlie. Blueberries? Call Charlie. Real estate? Call Charlie. The effect of the moon’s gravitational pull on consumer habits in Renys department stores? Call Charlie.

There’s a lot to consider for 2012, and I’m sure Colgan will delve into it. How will the presidential election play into the economy? What’s going to happen in Europe, and how will that affect the U.S. – and Maine – economies?

He gives his forecast for the New Year annually and the last few years he’s done so at USM’s elegant Hannaford Hall. The lecture hall is generally packed with businesspeople and media, and the 7 a.m. event next week is open to the public, though you have to reserve a seat by clicking here or by calling 780-4714.

Last year, Colgan said he expected Maine employment growth of 1.2 percent, followed by 3 percent in 2012 and 2.9 percent in 2013.

How did Colgan do?

Well, according to the Maine Department of Labor, the size of Maine’s employed work force remained pretty flat from 2010 to 2011. If you look at the latest month that has been revised out — June — Maine had 591,600 employed in 2011, compared to 591,000 in 2010.

You can read the story on last year’s event, or you can also listen to a scintillating audio recording.

And check out the BDN on Tuesday for coverage of Colgan’s predictions for 2012.