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In Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado, Economies Languish As GOP Candidates Vie For Votes [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at a rally February 6, 2012 in Golden, Colorado on the eve of the state caucus. (Getty)
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at a rally February 6, 2012 in Golden, Colorado on the eve of the state caucus. (Getty)

When Republicans in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado cast their votes for presidential candidates Tuesday, many will no doubt have the economy on their minds.

Tying the three economies together is government, among the top three employers in all three states. And in all three states, government employment is falling too.

Missouri particularly struggled last year, losing jobs while nationwide employment grew. And nearly a third of Missouri's mortgages are underwater -- a larger share than the national average. The state is also less confident about the future of the economy than 35 states.

Though Minnesota and Colorado's economies are doing better than average, they are still far from healthy. Minnesota's home prices plunged 20 percent over the past five years. And Minnesota's unemployment rate is lower than the national average largely because of slow population growth, said Troy Walters, an economist at IHS Global Insight.

Coloradans may feel a bit wealthier than the nation as a whole since the same housing bust has not been as severe there. Home prices have fallen just 5 percent over the past five years, and 16 percent of Colorado mortgages are underwater -- far below the national average.

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