economy

Since the Great Recession, personal income and jobs have grown across the country and throughout our region. But that growth is uneven.

Across the Mountain West, the majority of our land mass is publicly owned. A new mapping project by Headwaters Economics provides county-level data that can help you understand what that means.

 


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According to the Census Bureau, Western towns with fewer than 5000 people have grown on average in recent years. Meanwhile, populations in similar sized towns in the Northeast and Midwest have gotten smaller.

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at how long each state could survive on their rainy day funds alone. Wyoming came out on top. The Cowboy State could stay afloat for just over a year on its rainy day reserves. States put these funds aside to prepare for an unexpected spending spike, like in a natural disaster, or to help balance a budget shortfall during a recession.

Cities in the Mountain West are seeing some of the strongest economic growth in the nation. That’s according to an annual analysis by the Milken Institute.

 


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The Mountain West has some of the fastest aging populations in the country, which could have some serious implications for the region's economy. 

 

Wearing flannel, sporting beards and donning beanies, many of the workers at the DPS ski factory in Salt Lake City look like ski bums warming up between runs at the local resort. But they are hard at work crafting some of the most advanced skis in the world.

Drought Puts A Pinch On Southern Colorado Agriculture

Dec 26, 2018
Dana Cronin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado's farming and ranching communities are facing a season of economic losses, after summer drought dried up grass for cattle, killed crops and kept thousands of acres from being planted. 

Anticipation is growing along with the zeros in the Mega Millions lottery winnings. The prize hit $1.6 billion after no one won the jackpot in a drawing on Friday night.

That's the largest lottery jackpot in history, surpassing the $1.586 billion Powerball prize in January 2016.

Mega Millions lead director Gordon Medenica called it "uncharted territory."

A winner who wants the money in a lump sum can opt for the cash option of about $905 million.

The next drawing will be on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET.

To explain why folks in rural Delta County, Colo. are feeling a lot less anxious than they were a couple years ago, consider the story of Johnny Olivas.

He's digging a line down a steep, dirt driveway, where he'll lay fiber optic cable into a home. His company, Lightworks Fiber, has begun installing badly needed broadband to this remote valley of deserts and aspen-cloaked mesas.

"I didn't know anything about fiber optic, but you catch on pretty quick," Olivas says during a break. "It's a hell of a lot easier than coal mining."

The Mountain West is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country with a lot of that growth thanks to the tech industry. But Wyoming is bucking the trend, in part because young, hip techies don’t want to move to the cowboy state. It has an image problem--specifically, a gay image problem. But some locals are trying to change that.


Thomas Hart / Flickr Creative Commons

The economic outlook for Colorado Springs and El Paso County continues to be positive. According to a forecast by Dr. Tatiana Bailey with the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, the gross metropolitan product (GMP) is expected to grow faster than the national GDP by about 1 percent, as it has steadily done for the past few years. 

Cathy Kipp was at a recent back-to-school night at Kruse Elementary School in Fort Collins. She was handing out flyers and printed information about Amendment 73.

"This is game changing," said Kipp, a member of the Poudre School District Board of Education. "This would be the best increase in public school funding that we've been able to get in decades in Colorado."

Mark Goebel, Flickr Creative Commons

A recent report ranks Pueblo as one of the worst cities in the country to live in. The study was done by New York-based 24/7 Wall Street. Results were based on quality of life factors like crime, the economy and education. Out of the 50 cities ranked, Pueblo came in 17th.

Jeff Shaw, President of the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation, says the report leaves a lot to be desired.

Scott Bauer / U.S. Department of Agriculture

According to a monthly survey, farmers across the U.S. aren’t feeling too optimistic these days.  

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A new report from the personal finance website Wallethub says states in the Mountain West are among the most reliant on the gun industry. With gun sales down under the Trump administration and a heightened focus on federal gun control regulations, could this reliance be an economic concern for the region’s bottom line?  

Colorado is a resilient state. The unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation and the population along the Front Range is booming. It’s easy to see the impact of a strong economy in Denver. Construction cranes are up all over the city and it’s harder than ever to find affordable housing.

But it’s a different story in many parts of western Colorado.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Parks and open space are vital to the economy, according to organizers of an event this past Monday called "State of the Outdoors." 

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado is among a handful of states where voters are being asked if the minimum wage should be increased. Proponents say the bump for the lowest-paid workers would help struggling families. Many businesses say it could prompt layoffs.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers gave the 145th annual "State of the City" address at the Broadmoor Thursday.

Mayor Suthers called on state leaders to expand a section Interstate 25 between Denver and Colorado Springs. He also acknowledged the pain caused by two shootings that happened in the city last fall.

Another topic was jobs. 

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Dec 7, 2015

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Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Work is set to begin this week on rail lines in western Kansas that carry Amtrak's Southwest Chief.  Portions of that track, plus segments in southeastern Colorado, were the target of a federal transportation grant awarded last year to help repair and upgrade freight lines to passenger rail speeds.  And, Colorado's Steel City is getting a boost from the work.
 

Friday Newscast, 9/25/15, 5:32 PM

Sep 25, 2015

Newscast for Friday, September 25, 2015, 5:32 PM:

Tuesday Newscast, 9/22/15, 7:20 AM

Sep 22, 2015

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Monday Newscast, 9/21/15, 6:04 PM

Sep 21, 2015

Newscast for Monday, September 21, 2015, 6:04 PM:

Trinidad is the first of nine communities announced as a beneficiary of a new state-run rural artist program.
 

The $50 million program called Space to Create, Colorado is an effort of Colorado Creative Industries and other foundations to provide affordable housing for artists.

CCI Director Margaret Hunt says areas with strong art communities are magnets for economic development. Hunt adds they're purposely selecting small towns.

Tuesday Newscast, 7/21/15, 5:32 PM

Jul 21, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, 7/21/15, 5:32 PM:

  • A burned American flag was discovered on a statue in front of Colorado Springs City Hall.
     
  • Vice President Joe Biden toured a manufacturing center at the Community College of Denver today. Bente Birkeland reports.
     

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

As a result of Colorado's booming oil production, energy companies are paying more in severance taxes – money they pay the state for taking minerals out of the ground. Half of it is supposed to go to back to local communities, both directly and through grants. But thanks to market forces and political conditions in Denver, it's not always a stable source of funding.

Trinidad Hit Hard by Layoffs

May 7, 2015

  Trinidad is reeling from a mass layoff. KRCC's Dana Cronin reports.

Around 100 people are losing their jobs at the Pioneer Natural Resources branch in Trinidad. The Texas-based oil and gas company was the largest employer in the city, says Gabriel Engeland, Trinidad's City Manager, who adds that the layoffs are devastating both economically and socially.

D. Utterback

Colorado’s latest revenue forecast was a mixed bag for lawmakers, showing a healthy economy and more money for the state budget. But there’s also a lot of uncertainty moving forward. Bente Birkeland sat down with Ivan Moreno of the Associated Press and Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal to discuss the implications of more state revenue.
 

Here are excerpts from the interview:

What it means for the state budget:

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