economy

When Blondie's Diner closes around 9 p.m. and a table of hunters finish their green chili cheeseburgers and head back to their hotel, the town of Naturita feels a bit like a ghost town.

There are two new marijuana dispensaries still open late with green neon signs, but on a November night at the start of hunting season, not many customers are partaking.

The only sound punctuating through the cold evening is a semi-truck idling in the parking lot of the Rimrocker Hotel, its driver trying to stay warm.

It's a good day when Tammie Delaney hears a train rumbling down the tracks outside of the century-old granary building she owns in Hayden.

"Oh, you get the train noise today!" she shouts as a train whistle pierces the usual silence in the small town of about 2,000 people.

The train whistles are an indicator of the economy in the Yampa Valley.

Drew Eggers stood at the edge of one of his stubble fields when he plucked a patch of mint left over from harvest.

“You can smell the spearmint,” he said, offering it up for a sniff.


U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

A new analysis from the Bozeman-based non-profit Headwaters Economics shows that the outdoor recreation industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and the industry has an especially outsized role in the Mountain West.

Farmers had been growing lettuce in the San Luis Valley for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the crop started to take off, thanks to advances in farming and vacuumed sealed shipping containers. At the time, locals referred to lettuce as “green gold,” and thousands of heads were shipped to East Coast cities each day.

California is king of U.S. agriculture. But on a per capita basis, no state brings in more farm revenue than Idaho.


Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC

As he delivered the annual State of the City address on Thursday, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers was interrupted several times by people calling for justice in the officer-involved shooting death of De’Von Bailey last month.

Immigrants make up more than ten percent of the population in our region. And according to a report, that can provide big economic benefits.

A recent report looking at the best states to work in doesn't show the Mountain West in a particularly good light. Only one state in our region ranked in the top half.

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. 

Monday Newscast, 12/7/15, 5:32 PM

Dec 7, 2015

Newscast for Monday, December 7, 2015, 5:32 PM:


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