Mountain Monitor-1st Quarter 2010

Mark Muro, Brookings Institution
Kenan Fikri, Brookings Mountain West
Jonathan Rothwell, Brookings Mountain West


The pace of economic recovery slowed in the large metros of the Intermountain West in the first quarter of 2011. Widespread but slowing output growth was coupled with much slower improvement in the labor market, where for the first time the region’s unemployment rate edged above the nation’s. The weight of a still-depressed housing market slowed recovery further. Overall, the differing courses of the region’s 10 major metro economies since the beginning of the recession can be characterized by relatively strong bouncebacks to the north and east of the region and more sluggish and protracted slogs to the south and west. Along those lines, four Intermountain West metros ranked in the top quintile and three in the bottom among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas on a measure of overall performance that takes into account changes in employment levels, the unemployment rate, output (gross metropolitan product or GMP), and house prices since the beginning of the recession and through the recovery.