Yampa Valley Data Partners sheds light on Northwest Colorado economics | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa Valley Data Partners sheds light on Northwest Colorado economics

Janelle O'Dea

For this holiday season, it's Yampa Valley women who have the purchasing power.

"Purchasing power" or "real dollar values" refer to the value of dollars in a single year, according to Katherine George, of Yampa Valley Data Partners.

Using real dollar values allows for comparison over a number of years.

In Moffat County, women's real dollar values increased by 15 percent between 2000 and 2012, according to YVDP's Regional Economic Forecast Fourth Quarter News. But Moffat County men lost about 10 percent in purchasing power in the same period.

Routt County men had a 13 percent decline in real wages and women maintained (did not gain or lose) their real wages in the same period.

Income inequality in Colorado and in the Yampa Valley explains much of the real wage value decline, the report said. Women's growing role in the labor force also has an effect on the numbers.

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Income of the richest fifth of households increased in both Moffat and Routt counties.

The poorest fifth of households lost 15 percent in income in Routt County and the poorest fifth of households' income in Moffat County gained 15 percent.

"Changes in the past 25 years to corporate governance and financial regulation at the macro-economic level explain the income and wage gap between the richest and everyone else," the report said.

While purchasing power has taken a hit, unemployment numbers are more encouraging.

Moffat County's unemployment rate dropped from 5.8 percent last year to 3.8 percent this year. Routt County's rate also dropped, from 5.3 percent to 3 percent.

The 2014 report said, however, this drop has created a labor shortage for Routt County.

Retail sales remain strong in Routt County while Moffat's have suffered. Routt County is expected to experience a 5 percent growth in retail sales this year compared to last, and Moffat County is expected to "underperform" in this category this year.

Both the Moffat County and Routt County housing markets remained stable or experienced growth "in recent months." Moffat County had lower than average foreclosure rates and Routt County also experienced a low foreclosure rate in September 2014.

Moffat had three foreclosures in September while Routt had five.

Out of Moffat County's top five industries, mining continues to lead the way in terms of wages earned. A total of 511 employees pulled in more than $10 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Routt County's finance and insurance industry generated more than $29 million for its 300 employees.

Retail trade and accommodation/food services employed the most people in Moffat and Routt counties, respectively.

Both Moffat and Rout counties experienced an uptick in coal production, while the state of Colorado as a whole declined.

Oil production fell in Moffat County by 29.4 percent from last year, and fell 23.4 percent in Routt County.

Natural gas production decreased 16.6 percent in Moffat County but grew 16.6 percent in Routt County.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.