Report: Springs still fighting to rebound from recessionMar 28, 2012 // Jorja McKinney
Colorado Springs is still struggling to fully escape the shadow of the recession, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.
The Mountain Monitor, a quarterly report produced by the nonprofit Brookings Institution and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, studies 10 large metropolitan areas in Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The latest report, released Wednesday, found the economic recovery was firmly under way in the fourth quarter in the Intermountain West — but with the pace varying widely.
Colorado Springs “continued to struggle to rebound overall,” the report said. Though the Springs saw job gains in the third quarter, a 0.1 percent contraction in the fourth quarter eroded some of those gains, the report found. And while manufacturing generally had a stronger quarter in the Intermountain West than it did nationally, manufacturing employment contracted by more than 2 percent in Denver and the Springs.
The Mountain Monitor report was compiled before revised payroll data was released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; those revisions added an average of more than 4,600 jobs per month to last year’s employment totals. Still, the Springs’ jobless rate remains at a stubbornly high 9 percent. Kenan Fikri, co-author of the Mountain Monitor report, says the Springs’ recovery is hampered by the lack of a strong growth sector.
Fikri did point to a bright spot: Housing prices climbed 1.3 percent in Colorado Springs in the fourth quarter from the quarter before, placing the Springs No. 15 in a ranking of the 100 largest metro areas in the country for one-quarter change in housing prices. Compared year to year, though, housing prices were down 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter. And they’re down 20.2 percent from their peak in the first quarter of 2007.
Output growth accelerated in the fourth quarter in the Springs. Output — which is synonymous with gross metropolitan product, or the value of goods and services produced by the economy — has made a full recovery in Colorado Springs and Denver, the report said. GMP was up 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter in the Springs and is up the same amount from its pre-recession peak.
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