There hasn't been a lot of optimism surrounding the local economy the last few years, but a recent index suggests Mesa County's job market is on a healthy rebound.
The Milken Institute Index of Best Performing Cities ranked Mesa County 50th out of 179 small metropolitan areas.
The index ranks how well cities create and sustain jobs.
To put that number in perspective, following 2011, Mesa County was listed 117th on the index, so the county vaulted nearly 70 spots over last year.
The Milken Index is based on measures of job, wage and economic growth as well as the economic output of high-tech companies.
Kelly Flenniken, executive director for the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, said she's especially pleased about increased wages.
"That is wonderful news," said Flenniken. "The higher incomes people have the more discretionary spending they have, and when they can have this discretionary spending that's when they buy other goods and services and that's what contributes to sales tax revenues."
The increase in wages is a rather big deal; Mesa County came in dead last at 179th for wage and salary growth between 2009 and 2010.
Flenniken said she's obviously pleased with the results of the index but realizes there's still plenty of work to be done if we want to continue to climb the ladder.
Mesa County is still at an 8.6% unemployment rate, and we saw slow job growth between May of 2011 and 2012, which was recognized in the study.
The Milken Institute is a non-profit think tank in California. It promotes economic and policy solutions that create jobs, improve access to capital and enhance health.
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