Top Story #3: Economy continued to suffer through year

The local economy fell into a rut in 2009 and it never climbed out in 2010, despite tentative hopes and predictions the second, then the third, then the fourth quarter would show an uptick in employment and consumer confidence.

Unemployment remained above 9 percent every month between February and November, the month when the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Mesa County hit a recession-era high of 10.1 percent.

The number of employed people in the county dropped by 2,400 between January and November, and the number of unemployed people in the county increased by 300 during the same time.

Those who managed to keep their jobs didn’t always have much to celebrate in their paychecks, aside from having them, especially if they were public employees. Mesa County froze pay and the city of Grand Junction cut all pay by 3 percent.

District 51 teachers earned as much per day in 2010–11 as they had during the 2009–10 school year, but two days were cut from their school year.

Information is not yet available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Statistics detailing how much money Mesa County residents earned in 2010, but income in Mesa County overall dropped by $200,000 in 2009 compared with 2008, according to the bureau. There may be hope for 2010, though: personal income increased year-over-year in the first, second and third quarters in Colorado.

Despite 2009 being a poor year for home sales in Grand Junction, fewer homes sold year-over-year during all but three of the 11 months of 2010 so far reported by the Colorado Association of Realtors.

Prices were down year-over-year during nine of the 11 months reported for 2010 compared with corresponding months the year before.

Homes weren’t selling well in 2010, but plenty were going on the market, whether homeowners lost their dwellings willingly or not.

In the first 11 months of 2010, Mesa County processed 1,544 foreclosure filings, which mark the beginning of the foreclosure process, and processed 911 foreclosure sales, marking the end of the process.

Compared with the first 11 months of 2009, that’s a nearly 50 percent increase in filings and more than triple the sales completed the previous year.


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