A report released Tuesday by Colorado State University detailed how the states economy fared over the last decade. It includes something to trigger just about every human emotion, from sorrow to relief, anger to fear.
Over all, though, it presents a picture of an economy rocked by two recessions - with an implicit warning about what not to do in response.
As detailed by The Denver Post, the good news is that the Western Slope led the state in job growth over the last 10 years. The region added more than 12,000 jobs, largely in mining, government, education and health care.
Of course, that is a decade-long statistic. Employment in Western Colorado boomed from 2003 to 2008, but fell off sharply in the last two years.
Still, that is better than much of the state. The Front Range lost 5,000 jobs for the decade, even as the states workforce as a whole increased by 300,000 people.
Median household income, which includes unemployed workers, was off 6.8 percent over the decade. That reflects a 11.6 percent drop from 2007 to 2009.
Earnings per worker, while flat for the last three years of the decade, were up 9.9 percent from 2000 to 2010. Although still lagging the Front Range in total earnings, the Western Slope experienced a greater percentage gain in earnings per worker.
As one of the authors of the report told the Post, The decade has been a really difficult one in Colorado.
The report also shows what sectors took the hardest hits and which were least affected or even gained. And in that there could lie answers or at least cautionary advice.
Education and health care gained overall. So too, did professional and technical services. Construction trades, specifically subcontractors such as plumbers and electricians, lost the most jobs.
Both ups and downs could point to a trend. The report says they reflect the states continued evolution to a high-service economy.
But it is other numbers that suggest a more clear direction as to what we can do. The CSU report shows unemployment rates for workers with a high-school diploma or less as opposed to those with at least a bachelors degree. The less educated went from 9.2 percent unemployment that was during the boom - to 16.9 percent in 2010. During that time, unemployment among college-educated workers increased by only 1 percentage point. The states overall rate in January was 9.1 percent.
The report says Colorados skilled, creative and talented workforce and the entrepreneurial spirit of its business owners are incredible assets that can be leveraged by thoughtful investments to provide new, broad-based opportunities.
But it also cautions that Colorado does not have a monopoly on such assets. Competition is global and increasing.
That is a timely thought for a state about to cut K-12 spending and slash funding for higher education.