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Brookings Mountain West

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Economic growth returned to the 10 major metro areas of the Mountain West in the second quarter of 2014 after slippage in the first quarter of the year. The resumption of vitality progressed unevenly, however. Denver and Salt Lake City pulled ahead as the fastest-growing metro areas in the region. Ogden and Provo’s days of above-average growth appeared to be fading. Las Vegas’ economic recovery advanced strongly, but Sun Belt peers Phoenix and Tucson had more difficulty moving beyond the first quarter’s slowdown. Albuquerque, for its part, welcomed a return to employment and output growth.

Across the region’s 10 major metro areas as a group, employment rose by a modest 0.3 percent compared to 0.5 percent nationwide. Only Salt Lake City and Denver registered faster job growth than the country as a whole, and three metro areas—Colorado Springs, Phoenix, and Tucson—saw employment contract slightly.

Output growth, meanwhile, resumed in the region after the surprising nationwide contraction of the first quarter. The region’s average 1.1 percent growth rate beat the national average by 0.3 percent. Colorado Springs was the only metro area in the region and one of the few nationally in which output fell in the second quarter. Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Tucson, by contrast, saw strongly above-average quarterly growth.


Economic development; Housing; Housing--Prices; Metropolitan areas--Economic aspects; Recessions; Unemployment


Economics | Economic Theory | Growth and Development | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Real Estate | Work, Economy and Organizations