Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Study: Economic recovery finally taking hold in Springs

By: BILL RADFORD
December 14, 2011
0
photo - Job seekers sought assistance at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center in Colorado Springs in 2008. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE FILE
Job seekers sought assistance at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center in Colorado Springs in 2008. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE FILE 

A post-recession recovery finally appears to be on track for Colorado Springs’ struggling economy, 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 Thursday, examined data in the third quarter — a period that saw the Springs post its first job gains since the Mountain Monitor began two years ago. Employment expanded 0.4 percent from the previous quarter.

Though the recession’s impact on the Springs was relatively mild compared to much of the rest of the region, the recovery has been late in arriving, said Kenan Fikri, one of the report’s authors. But now, he said, “there is hope at the end of a long, hard slog.”

In October — the start of the fourth quarter and thus not included in the third-quarter report — the unemployment rate in the Colorado Springs area dropped to 9.2 percent, its lowest level in nearly two years

Still, there are warning signs. “A sustained jobs recovery continues to elude Colorado’s Front Range,” the report states. And it notes Colorado Springs’ dependence on “now-stagnant federal spending in industries like defense.” But Fikri said some other areas, including finance, construction, professional services, leisure/hospitality, retail and entertainment, look set to take off.

“If all goes well, they’ll start growing again and pick up some of the slack,” he said.

Housing prices, meanwhile, may have hit bottom; they edged up 0.2 percent in the Springs in the third quarter from the previous quarter, according to the report. At the same time, the Springs reduced its stock of foreclosure properties.

While Fikri said he doesn’t expect a robust turnaround, “housing prices can’t really fall a whole lot further. You didn’t have the boom, so they weren’t as artificially inflated as they were elsewhere in the region.”

Growth in economic output was “feeble” in Colorado Springs in the third quarter, up 0.3 percent, the report said. In terms of growth in gross metropolitan product, or GMP, the Springs ranked 86th among 100 metro areas covered by Brookings’ broader MetroMonitor report. Still, Colorado Springs is “on the brink of a full output recovery,” the Mountain Monitor found, with its economic output just 0.5 percent below pre-recession levels.

RELATED STORIES

• Jobless claims fall to lowest level since May 2008.

• Fort Carson expansion fuels county growth in pay.

• Little improvement expected in Springs commercial real estate market.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.