2001 - 9/11 attacks ruptured already leaky economy
That kind of story hadn’t been told here since 1984-85, when the county’s high-tech sector almost went belly up and unemployment was hovering at 7.4 percent.
The top story of 2001 really began at the end of 2000, when many local dot-coms announced they were closing their doors. Throughout 2001 more Internet, telecomm and tech-related companies followed suit or announced layoffs. Broomfield’s Level 3 Communications Inc. laid off 150, GlobalCommerce laid off 19 percent of its Broomfield workforce, MessageMedia Inc. eliminated 100 jobs in its Boulder and Superior offices, Electronic Data Systems Corp. laid off at least 200 Boulder County workers from its offices in Longmont and Louisville, and Boulder’s Gold Systems Inc. laid off 27 of its staff — the first cut in the firm’s 10-year history.
By August, unemployment in the county had reached 3.7 percent, compared with 2.5 percent for the same month in 2000.
The employee-driven market turned into an employer-driven market, and the university and the federal labs in Boulder once again began to be appreciated as stabilizing forces on the city’s and county’s economy.
But all that was before Sept. 11.
Some sectors clearly felt the hit immediately. The hospitality industry was one. Hotels along the U.S. 36 corridor were especially hard hit.
Sept. 11’s events turned a local economy that had bottomed and was expected to begin to grow slowly into one headed for a recession.
Before the attacks, the research division at the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business predicted slow growth for the county in the third quarter of 2001 and progressively better growth after that. After the attacks, the division revised its projections, suggesting economic growth wouldn’t return to the county until the second quarter of 2002.