Colorado Springs Still Reeling from Recession

According to a report from the Brookings Institution, the city of Colorado Springs is still feeling the effects of the worst economic downturn in the US since the 1930s nearly four years after the recession was declared over. The report was compiled with the cooperation of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and contains data on 10 large cities across New Mexico, Nevada,Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. Dubbed the Mountain Monitor, the report was issued Wednesday morning.

According to the report, the Colorado Springs real estate market is still struggling to gain a foothold in the recovery. While the city’s labor market gained jobs in last year’s third quarter, it gave some back in the final three months of the year as the market lost 0.1 percent of its jobs. And while manufacturing was stronger in the report’s overall area of focus than in the broader US last quarter, the sector actually declined in terms of jobs by more than 2 percent in the Springs.

The unemployment rate in Colorado Springs remains stubbornly at 9 percent, well above the national average. Analysts say the city’s biggest problem is the lack of a major growth sector, like the tech industry that is fueling economic growth in many Southern California cities. The Mountain Monitor’s authors did point to one bright spot for Colorado Springs in the housing sector.

Home prices in the city rose 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the prior three months. The performance ranks the Springs at No. 15 among the nation’s 100 largest cities in home value growth over that time. Of course, home prices are still down 6.4 percent in year-over-year terms, and a staggering 20.2 percent below their peak levels seen during the first quarter of 2007.