marostica-donState Representative Don Marostica, a Loveland Republican who resigned his post Thursday to become Democratic Governor Bill Ritter’s director of economic development, has plenty of work ahead. As he told the Loveland Reporter-Herald, “It’ll be a great challenge. We’ve got to get jobs back into Colorado.”

One measure of just how much of a challenge he’s facing is new-car sales, which are down 41.4 percent in Colorado through the first half of this year compared to the same period a year ago. That’s worse than the nation as a whole, writes the Denver Business Journal, and the figures are the worst six-month period in Colorado’s modern history.

The decline knows no political or style boundaries: Sales were down the most for Smart cars and Hummers.

Tim Jackson, the president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, tells 9News that he thinks the worst is over. But that remains to be seen. Coloradans have lost a record number of jobs—the worst loss in 65 years, according to The Denver Post. Gary Horvath, a business researcher for the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, says when July’s job numbers come out, Colorado will be around 2001 levels.

“From an employment standpoint, this is the lost decade,” he says.