Mesa County Employment Rate

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) – The last time the West Rim experienced a recession was the Great Recession of 2008. It took 45 months to recover. Workforce center director, Curtis Englehart, said here’s what went wrong.

“In 2009 what happened was the oil and gas industry lost the bottom of that industry. We lost thousands of jobs with that because we had such a concentration of concentrated jobs on this industry,” says Curtis Englehart.

Fast forward to pandemic recession when recovery only took 20 months! Englehart says Mesa County is a different place this time around.

Enlgehart added, “We’ve really done an incredible job of diversifying as a local economy. so we don’t have all of our eggs in one particular basket if you will when it comes to specific industries. yes, we still have a strong concentration of jobs in the oil and gas industry, but we also have it in health care and all that.

But locals who support locals have also helped.

“Our community partners and leaders worked very hard to make sure the jobs were still there, that the businesses could stay open.” Englehart added.

Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke also thinks Grand Junction’s resilient business community may have been better prepared than other counties.

Diane Schwenke said: “Our small business community was much stronger coming out of this pandemic-induced recession. they were simply in a much better position to recover because they never suffered as much hardship as their peers across the country.

With tougher days seemingly behind us, Shwenke believes Grand Junction is now well positioned to grow.

“I expect 2022 to be another year of continued growth.” Schwenke said.

Englehart is also optimistic, but cautiously.

Englehart said: “We weren’t out of this yet. I think we were on the right track for sure. I’d probably say it’s been a bit slower than we expected or hoped for, but we’re making general progress month after month to get back to where we were.