03/14/2011 03:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Brookings Institution: Denver, Colorado Springs Join Rocky Mountain Region In Speedy Recovery; Jobs Still Lag

Colorado's largest metro areas--Colorado Springs and Denver--experienced faster economic recoveries that most of the country in 2010, but their unemployment rates took a big hit. That's according to a new study released on Monday by the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan Washington D.C.-based think tank.

Brookings' most-recent installment of the quarterly Mountain Monitor (PDF), a partnership between Brookings and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, shows that many Western metro areas have "experienced some of the swiftest recoveries in the nation." The report shows 4 metros in the region—Denver, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah—were among the strongest-perorming metro areas in the country in the 4th quarter of 2010.

Over the third and fourth quarters of 2010, Colorado Springs and Denver posted some of the largest gains in gross metropolitan product (GMP) in the Rocky Mountain Region, with quarterly growth rates above 2.0 percent.

However, hiring in Denver and Colorado Springs has not been commensurate with the economic recovery. The Springs ranked 99th out of the largest 100 metro areas in the change in the unemployment during 2010. The latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment showed Colorado Springs's unemployment rate at 10.2 percent. That's up from 9.5 percent in December, and the highest monthly rate since 1970, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Denver's unemployment rate also increased in 2010, although both the Springs and Denver were among only 14 cities nationally that did experience 3 consecutive quarters of job growth during the year following a brutal first quarter.

No Mountain West metro area has fully recouped jobs lost before the recession.

The Brookings Institution pointed out in 2010 that the slow jobs recovery is historically anomalous in the Rocky Mountain West. The region generally began producing jobs before the rest of the country following recessions in the 1980's and 90's.

The study's authors report that sluggish housing markets continue to slow the region's recovery.