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Determining impact of possible economic recession in southern Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Economic and financial experts have varying opinions about whether the nation is headed for a recession, and how such a situation would impact Colorado.

Inflation, high fuel prices and higher interest rates are among the factors cited as possibly contributing to what could be the country's first extended recession since 2008; the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic were considered to be a brief recession.

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Tatiana Bailey, an economics professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and state Sen. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, agree that a recession lasting longer and being worse than in 2008, appears inevitable.

Both say that it could start as soon as next month, if the gross national product finishes this month at a negative growth rate for the second consecutive month.

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"We have a confluence of so many different factors," Bailey explained. “We have increasing interest rates, we have corporate valuations that were really too high and are coming down kind of hard now, we have inflation that we haven’t seen in 40 years -- 8.6% is the last reading. We have the Ukrainian crisis, so commodity prices -- food and so forth -- are really high. And then, of course, oil prices."

Worsening the situation, Lundeen said, are some politicians who aren't doing enough to prevent or lessen the impacts of a recession.

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“Putting greater regulations on all of those businesses that are struggling -- to just hire somebody and keep going -- putting more regulatory burdens on those businesses, makes it even harder for them to keep moving forward and that accelerates the negative impacts that give us a recession."

But there is good news for the Colorado Springs area, Bailey said, because the area's strong military industry and housing market should provide some insulation from a recession.

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So what can you do to prepare?

"Lower-income families will really feel the pinch," Bailey said. "In just the past few months, credit card use and debt have skyrocketed. We've started to see an increase in local foreclosures. If you like your job, stick with it because we won't see as many layoffs but we'll see fewer openings."

Lundeen said that he'd like to see a cut in income taxes.

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"A recession happens when businesses and people don't have cash," he said. "Cut taxes from money that people have already earned, and put money back in their hands."

Several people said that they are resigned to the onset of a recession.

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"I'm watching how I spend my money and cutting back where I can," said Donna Ewers. "We need to support each other and pray."

Bruce Neher said that he's slightly worried but not overly so.

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"I've been through it before," he said.

Arthur Trapp said that having kids out of the house and being retired should make a recession easier to endure.

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"I think this one will be worse than in 2008," he said. "It didn't come to mind as a recession then because I wasn't hurting, but so many more people are hurting now."

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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