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KUNC is among the founding partners of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Western states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Mountain West States Lead In Job Growth ... Thanks, Millennials

Utah and Idaho were the leading states for employment growth over the past year, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also in the top five were Nevada and Colorado.

According to Chad Shearer with the nonprofit think tank the Brookings Institution, much of that employment growth is being driven by people moving here.

“Right now the Intermountain West’s story is really one about growth begetting growth,” Shearer said.

He said compared to the rest of the West, the Intermountain region is building housing at a faster rate to keep up with demand.

“That has attracted a lot of millennials, a lot of young people, and especially a lot of educated young people. And so that’s really a big driving force in the growth of these economies.”

With those millennials comes demand for construction, health care and retail sector jobs.

But Shearer warned that more jobs does not always mean good jobs, and this is an opportunity for states to prioritize quality employment along with growth.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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