The Economy Has No “Pause” Button (2)

Unemployment Rebound. Source: WalletHub

I’ve written over at Complete Colorado about how Colorado’s economy has been slow to recover from the government-induced recession in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus.

What’s true for Colorado is true for Denver, as well. In December of 2019, Denver’s unemployment rate was 2.5%, among the lowest in the country. Since then, it zoomed upward, recovered somewhat, and in the last months has gone up again, topping 10% if one includes those laid off.

According to a monthly survey by WalletHub, Denver’s increase in unemployment rate, at more than 300%, is 177th among the 180 cities they surveyed. Adjusted to include those laid off, it is at 10.14%, it is 155th on the list.

There is no question but that the city has had among the most aggressive restrictions in the state, attempting to regulate even out-of-city travel by residents. It was one of the first to implement a city-wide lockdown last March. It was slow to allow businesses to reopen. When the state announced its so-called 5-Star program, allowing restaurants in “red zones” qualify for increased seating, Denver was not near the front of the line for state approval.

Famously, Mayor Michael Hancock called for city residents to stay home for Thanksgiving, even as he was jetting off to Houston to visit his family in Mississippi for the holiday.

The mayor and much of the city council have been shameless cheerleaders for the state restrictions, preferring instead to grandstand about the Trump administration’s alleged failures with respect to the virus. And the result is not only devastating economically for Denver, but also for Aurora (#177) and Colorado Springs (#168). As is the case nationally, there is little evidence that all this ongoing economic pain has actually accomplished anything in the way of stopping the virus’s spread.

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