Mark Muro, co-author of the quarterly Mountain Monitor report on the economy of the Intermountain West, points to “discernible progress” when it comes to Denver’s recovery from the Great Recession.

Over two consecutive quarters, the economy has grown, but unfortunately “that growth has yet to be translated into jobs,” Muro says (via the Denver Business Journal).

The Monitor, a publication of the Brookings Institution and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, finds that Denver is the only metro area in the West in which the jobless rate at the end of the year’s first quarter wasn’t higher than a year earlier.

Still, “For the first time in three decades, the region finds itself unable to lead the nation out of a recession and [is] forced into a period of serious questioning about the sources of future growth with further federal stimulus unlikely,” the study says.

“In these new, uncharted territories, certain corners of the Mountain West face the prospect of being left behind. The rest of the country and virtually all of the region’s metropolitan areas have to re-evaluate the basics of the Western growth model.”

An alternate option is to grow into a new-energy economy, such as the one espoused by Governor Bill Ritter. At least, that’s what Ritter believes. He tells The Colorado Independent that his successor—Democrat or Republican—should continue to pursue the new-energy model.