Wealth paradox: Income in Boulder County is on a downward slide
From her car window, Tamii Nunez can see UCHealth’s Longs Peak Hospital. When it opens in mid-August, more than 300 people will be employed there. The lowest-paid among them will earn $14 an hour, while skilled nurses will pull in $50 or more.
It’s the kind of place Nunez, a medical student, hopes to work someday. But for now she is relegated to watching the building take shape across the street from inside her Honda Civic, where she is living with her boyfriend and cat. Often, they park overnight in the parking lot of the Walmart on Ken Pratt — a perfect vantage point for the hospital.
Nunez’s position is illustrative of the dichotomy of Boulder County’s super-heated economy: Jobs are plentiful, yet incomes are declining. Median household income, when adjusted for inflation, dropped 4.2 percent from 2001 to 2015, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Households in the middle earned $75,556 just after the new millennium. Fourteen years later, they were bringing in roughly $3,000 less per year: $72,392.
“Even though we’ve seen this great expansion in our economy,” said State Demographer Elizabeth Garner, “we’re not really able to reap all of its benefits.”
The state’s aging population and the growth of new jobs in low-wage industries are lowering incomes overall even as the economy booms. Those providing services to the struggling say the picture is clear: more people are spending more on the essentials, and wages are failing to keep pace.
Read the full story at DailyCamera.com.