COLORADO SPRINGS – Data recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows Colorado Springs’ economy stayed stronger than most cities across Colorado and even the nation in 2020.
The study measured Gross Metropolitan Product, which basically amounts to Gross Domestic Product, but focuses on cities.
Colorado Springs’ economy shrunk 0.1% during the year, faring better than Denver (-2.8%) and the U.S. Metro Area average (-3.5%). UCCS Economic Forum director and PhD Economist Tatiana Bailey says Colorado Springs is telling “a remarkable story.”
“Basically, we stayed flat, which is incredible when you look at it, because 2020 was when we got hit the hardest by the pandemic,” Bailey said.
Bailey cites the number of professional sectors and industries deemed “essential,” and allowed to continue operating in the early days of the pandemic, as some of the reason behind the insulating effect felt by the Olympic City.
The main industries she credits with growing the local economy are: military; finance, insurance and real estate; professional and business services; local and state government; and construction industries. The combined contribution of those industries equals 58.6 on the City’s GMP.
“Colorado has a huge hospitality sector so the simple fact that we weren’t as impacted as negatively as the rest of the nation, and yet we have this large hospitality sector, tells me that our professional type jobs are really outweighing the negative impacts of the pandemic,” Bailey said.
Regional politics could have something to do with that, as well. Currently, Denver is requiring masks and/or vaccination records for indoor settings – whereas El Paso County does not, instead leaving the decision to business owners.
The potential added economic output, however, should be weighed against the impact of the virus itself, as El Paso County (1,456 deaths) saw more deaths than the next closest county: Adams (1,142 deaths).
Bailey, who also has a post-graduate degree in Public Health, says it’s a dichotomy worth noting.
“My knee-jerk reaction is, yeah the fact we didn’t restrict as much may have helped us and then my other knee, public health background, says the places that didn’t shut down got hit even harder by the pandemic. Their hospitals filled up even more,” she said.