Maybe the recession has your glass so half-empty that you’re low-balling your value in the marketplace. But chances are your employer isn’t. That’s according to the Denver Business Journal, which notes that three out of four metro-area companies will dole out raises this year. Moreover, Denver is No. 5 on a list of the best cities in the nation for getting a raise, especially if you are one of the “middle performers.”

But before you run home in a fluster to tell everyone, the average raise will be a modest 2.1 percent. Hey, that’s better than the layoffs, pay cuts, and/or forced vacations endured by other workers since the recession hit. An example: Mayor John Hickenlooper is asking police officers, firefighters, and other rescuers to consider giving up their 2010 pay raises, ranging from 4 percent to 4.5 percent, to help reduce Denver’s $120 million budget shortfall, according to The Denver Post.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, many people across the nation got an automatic raise when the federal minimum hourly wage went up to $7.25. (Colorado’s wage is slightly higher and, by law, must keep pace with inflation.) But, as the Rocky Mountain Independent asks, are such minimal wages enough to live on? Meanwhile, wages for El Paso County workers are so comparatively low that quality employees always seem to have an eye on the escape hatch, News Channel 13 reports.