COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Thursday, Mayor John Suthers spoke on the city’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, stating the city's recovery is among the best in the country.
"Last year, I said that the state of our city was good," he said. "This year, given the pandemic and the economic downturn, I think it's excellent."
Monday KRDO spoke with Tatiana Bailey, a professor and economist who follows the local Colorado Springs economy.
Q: How are the Colorado and Colorado Springs economies recovering from the pandemic?
A: We've done better than the nation by far, but we've even done better than most Colorado cities. We are better positioned than most cities, and honestly Colorado is better positioned than most states.
Q: Why is Colorado Springs better positioned?
A: We are a highly educated state. We are the second most educated in the nations and when you think about it those are a lot of jobs that can be worked from home, because they are professional. The other ace in the hole is we've been number one, two, or three in the Kauffman Entrepreneurship index. We have a lot fo entrepreneurs in this state and that's going to be a tremendous boost for us as well because look at all the innovations that are going to be coming out of this.
Q: What do you take into account, when you speak about Colorado Springs compared to other cities?
A: Economists always say everything is jobs, jobs, jobs in the economy. If people are working, they're paying taxes, they're going out and buying houses and cars and goods and so forth. Jobs are a reflection on business and business growth.
Q: How are jobs looking in the United States and how does Colorado Springs compare?
A: Roughly 56% of jobs have been regained in the United States. Boulder has only had 25% of their jobs regained since the beginning of the pandemic. Why? Because they have a whole lot of things to do in their city but it depends on people being out and doing them. Denver has had 57% of their jobs regained, similar to the United States. Colorado Springs has had 72% of its jobs regained.
Q: Does the Department of Defense have a big part in us doing well?
A: Yes, but I do believe int he importance of job diversification. There are three reasons I believe Colorado is doing well compared to other states. We have the Department of Defense, we're also a desirable place to live, and we have diversification of jobs. We see South Dakota who relies on oil and gas and they're not doing so well. Or if you compare us to Nevada, their economy relies heavily on just hospitality. Yes, we have a lot of hospitality. Yes, we have some representation in oil and gas. But we also have technology, food and beverage manufacturing. We have a plethora, really, of industries.
For more about how the economy is faring during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tatiana Bailey will be holding a free virtual forum October 1, 2020 from 1 to 4 p.m.