Grand Junction GDP fell 7 percent in 2009

Grand Junction’s Gross Domestic Product declined by $372 million, or 7 percent, in 2009 compared to 2008.

The city tied Racine, Wis., and South Bend, Ind., for 35th largest percentage decrease in GDP year-over-year in 2009 among 366 metropolitan areas, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Only 74 metropolitan areas increased GDP in 2009.

Gross Domestic Product measures how much the goods and services produced in an area are worth. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Grand Junction’s goods and services were worth $4.913 billion last year.

Grand Junction’s most prosperous sectors in 2009 included management, which doubled GDP from $9 million in 2008 to $18 million in 2009; and finance as well as agriculture, fishing and forestry, which increased GDP more than 11 percent each.

Some of the hardest hit sectors in 2009 were the ones with the most jobs to lose, according to Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Diane Schwenke.

“Fishing and forestry is not that big an industry for us in terms of major employment numbers,” she said of the industry that gained $3 million in GDP in 2009 compared to 2008. “Mining was a major sector and where we saw major layoffs.”

Mining took the biggest local hit in GDP in 2009, dropping 35.2 percent and shedding $255 million compared to 2008.

Mesa County Workforce Center Director Sue Tuffin said she has seen some new job orders arrive recently in the energy sector, but positions in that sector and in construction remain harder to come by than they were in 2008.

Construction experienced a 14.3 percent drop in GDP year-over-year in Grand Junction, a decrease that equated to $62 million. Tuffin said the return of construction jobs will come after other industries make gains locally.

“We will see construction come back when the jobs return. It’s all based upon demand,” Tuffin said.

One industry that dipped from $265 million in GDP value in 2008 to $235 million in 2009, manufacturing, may be making a comeback, according to Schwenke.

“I’ve been hearing good things for about six months,” she said. “Manufacturing is a great indicator of where things are going because their markets are mostly national and international. It’s a great indicator of where things are heading (locally).”


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