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The Mountain West’s recovery from the Great Recession is spreading. Output is growing in every metropolitan area. Still, hiring remains elusive—a fact frustrating the entire nation, but perhaps more so in a region used to snapping, even roaring, back from recessions faster than the rest of the nation. Drawing on data covering the fourth quarter of 2009 (ending in December), this new Mountain Monitor—a companion product to Brookings’ national MetroMonitor and a quarterly resource produced by Brookings Mountain West, a partnership between Brookings and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas—surveys a region that is at once recovering and still struggling. Previously, the Intermountain West has been almost impervious to national declines over the last 30 years. Construction growth looked automatic. Job growth seemed a given. And when there were recessions as in the 1980s and 1990s they were—in retrospect—mere blips in a steady upward trajectory. And yet now, the region’s very strengths have become its greatest weaknesses as what was taken for granted now remains elusive. For example, the once unstoppable housing sector now represents one of the heaviest drags on the region’s recovery, dampening the usual rapid snap-back of hiring. In sum, the region is having to consider what may fuel the next era of growth, job creation, and broadly shared prosperity. To this end, this edition of the Mountain Monitor examines data on employment, unemployment, output, home prices, and foreclosure rates for Intermountain West’s 10 large metropolitan areas, the nation’s 100 largest metros, and 17 smaller metros dispersed around the Mountain region through the fourth quarter of 2009.


Business cycles; Economic development; Economic history; Housing – Prices; Job creation; Metropolitan areas; Recessions; Unemployment; West (U.S)


Economic History | Economic Policy | Economics | Work, Economy and Organizations