Brookings: Springs strong but west still struggling

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While the mountain west is struggling to recover from recession, a few of the region’s large metro cities, including Colorado Springs, have fully recovered their economic output and surpassed  pre-recession gross metropolitan product levels.

A Mountain Monitor report released today by  the Brookings Institute shows that Colorado Spring had fewer job losses than most of the region. The report covers Colorado as well as Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The quarterly Mountain Monitor analyzes data on jobs, output, home prices and foreclosure rates for the Intermountain West’s metro areas. The most recent report covers the first quarter.

Both Denver and Colorado Springs performed better than the national and top 100 metro areas on housing-price declines. In stark contrast, however, the region’s remaining six large metros perform in the bottom quintile of large metros nationally.

While that’s welcome news for the Pikes Peak region, the study says the cities of Colorado and neighboring mountain states are “still struggling.”

“For the first time in three decades, the region finds itself unable to lead the nation out of a recession and [is] forced into a period of serious questioning about the sources of future growth with further federal stimulus unlikely,” the study says. “In these new, uncharted territories, certain corners of the Mountain West face the prospect of being left behind the rest of the country and virtually all of the region’s metropolitan areas have to re-evaluate the basics of the Western growth model.”

Among the report’s key negative findings for the region:

  • “The 10 largest Intermountain West metropolitan areas made little progress towards recovery between the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 as steeper-than-before employment declines weighed on the region.”
  • “Despite growing by 1.1 percent this quarter, the Intermountain West’s large metros suffered a further employment setback of 0.6 percent” from the previous quarter.
  • “Employment recovery eludes the entire region, and not a single metro made progress between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 in recouping jobs lost to the recession.”
  • “Home prices … remain depressed. This quarter’s annualized price depreciations were steeper than last’s in every metro.”

To read more and for a link to a pdf of the full report, Visit the study’s site.