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Brookings Mountain West

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With the national economy gaining steam, the 10 major metro areas of the Mountain West ended 2014 with another quarter of strong economic performance. On the four indicators of economic vitality measured by the Mountain Monitor—employment growth, output growth, changes in unemployment, and house price growth—with only a few exceptions, every metro area registered advances on every indicator. Such widespread progress heretofore eluded the region, where recovery from the Great Recession has been characterized by unevenness.

In aggregate, the 10 Mountain metro areas ended 2014 with their fastest quarter of job growth of the year. Employment increased by 0.8 percent compared to 0.6 percent nationwide. Individually, every major metro area in the region except Colorado Springs saw employment increase, with six of the 10 creating jobs significantly faster than the country as a whole.

The rate of output growth in the region tapered somewhat, however, in line with the national economy. The value of all goods and services produced in the region’s 10 major metro areas increased by only 0.8 percent, compared to 1.3 percent in the third quarter. Only Utah’s three metro areas bucked the trend and saw output growth accelerate.


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