Grand Junction shows signs of being behind U.S. economic recovery

The fourth quarter nationwide may have looked rosier than the last three months of 2009 in Mesa County.

Personal income in the United States increased by 4 percent, disposable personal income increased 4.8 percent, the worth of products made in the United States increased 6.4 percent, and the portion of goods and services produced by labor and property in the United States, succinctly known as real gross domestic product, increased by 5.7 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The most current corresponding data for Mesa County is from 2008.

While demand for some products in Grand Junction picked up in the fourth quarter, Diane Schwenke, executive director of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, said the quarter, like the rest of last year, “was not great” for local businesses.

“It was spotty,” Schwenke said. “I had some businesses tell me they were doing better in the fourth quarter, while others said, ‘I’m not seeing it.’”

Grand Junction is often behind national economic trends by a few months, Schwenke said. The Chamber of Commerce is budgeting a flat year for its 2010 operations.

While investment in real estate increased nationwide by 5.7 percent from the third to the fourth quarter, single-family home-sale closings decreased nearly 10 percent during the same time in Grand Junction, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors, and median home prices decreased by $1,429.

The Grand Valley may be behind the trend in real estate, but Sandy Barger, a Realtor with Keller Williams, said the local residential market is doing well in a usually slow time of year because of a tax credits for first-time home buyers and existing homeowners.

“I can’t speak for everybody in the valley, but I know our month of February is set to have more closings than last February,” Barger said.


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