what the heck happened to the miracle of the Information Economy???

Much of Colorado’s economic success in the 1990s was due to growth in the information sector. The good times ended, however, in 2001, when the dot.com bubble burst. The chart below uses BLS data to show the roller coaster for Colorado’s “Information” sector, as measured by total employment from 1990-today. Over the course of the 1990s the state added about 60,000 jobs in the sector. Since then, more than 40,000 have been lost.

Source: BLS

The carnage was spread across sectors. Using data for 2000-201o from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the following chart shows that the telecommunications sector within information was hardest hit, losing nearly 15,800 jobs between 2000 and 2010. Publishing industries, which includes software, lost more than 13,000 jobs over the decade.

Colorado job change in select Information sectors: 2000-2010 


One of the sobering aspects is that this decline was not really affected by the Great Recession. Returning to the top chart, Colorado lost about 6,000 information jobs over the course of the recession–substantial losses, to be sure,  but not that different from the rest of the economy. This suggest that the decline of the state’s information economy is structural more than cyclical, and should not be expected to provide a growth miracle as the next few years unfold.


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