State budget facing $1.4B shortfall


State budget facing $1.4B shortfall

Economist says recession 'fully taken hold in Colorado'
Regional economy not immune

By Joe Hanel

Herald Denver Bureau

DENVER – Southwest Colorado’s economy slowed in 2008, even though the jobs picture was slightly better than the state as a whole, according to a report by the Legislature’s economics staff.

The region’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in 2008, lower than Colorado’s 4.9 percent.

However, the recession took hold in Colorado very quickly, and unemployment is expected to average 7.2 percent in Colorado this year.

The report did not break out a prediction for Southwest Colorado. A separate report, from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, shows there were 1,618 unemployed people in La Plata County as of Jan. 31, or 5.1 percent of the work force – up from 3.9 percent in December.  

Consumer spending fell 1 percent last year in La Plata County and the region as a whole. It rose slightly – 0.7 percent – in Montezuma County. But spending in Dolores and San Juan counties was off 8.9 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

Durango had mixed news on its housing market. Prices were up 1 percent, but sales fell 23 percent. More people bought condominiums as the prices fell. Durango condo sales were up 7.1 percent, and prices were down 5.7 percent.

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