How Phoenix and Las Vegas Are Dragging Denver Down

December 16 2009, 11:19 AM

The economic crisis that struck as the housing bubble burst and the stock market crashed last year has hit mountain states, including Colorado, harder than any other region in the nation, according to a report issued Monday by the Brookings Institution. But it's the devastation in Las Vegas and Phoenix that's dragging down the rest of the relatively stable Rocky Mountain region. As it turns out, the West is "a microcosm of the rest of the country," Robert Lang, co-author of Brookings Mountain West, tells USA Today. "It has its highs and lows. It has metros slowly recovering and others that remain dead in the water." The new MountainMonitor, a joint effort between Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, studied economies in Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. They found significant declines in home values and high job losses, particularly in Boise, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Denver and Colorado Springs, meanwhile, fared much better than those cities in the same categories, notes The Denver Post. Yet, for people in Colorado struggling to find work or keep their business going, this news is "probably cold comfort," says Mark Muro, one of the report's authors (via the Colorado Springs Gazette).