A Look at Wages Across Colorado

January 2010

Coffman, MikeNew U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment figures have made Weld and Douglas counties the national poster children for wage shrinkage. Because of the recession, Weld County now can brag that it has the largest percentage of decrease in wages among large U.S. counties---a staggering nine percent. Douglas County's total, 6.1 percent, seems tame by comparison, although it ranks third on the list (via Westword). If you're looking to blame a Democrat or a Republican for the situation, take your pick. Betsy Markey, a Democrat, is the go-to representative in Weld, and Mike Coffman (pictured), a Republican, is your rep in Douglas. As for Denver, average wages fell one percent in the 12 months that ended June 30, 2009, writes the Denver Business Journal, which points out that Denver wages are the best of any county in the state. There are bright spots. Boulder's wages, for instance, are up 0.8 percent, and El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, has increased pay by 1.9 percent---although they're still seemingly paltry compared with average wages in the Denver area. Across the nation, 40 percent of the nation's 334 largest counties weathered wage shrinkage in the one-year period measured by the feds.