GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The last time the western slope experienced recession was the great recession in 2008. it took 45 months to recover. workforce center director, Curtis Englehart, says here’s what went wrong.

“In 2009 what happen was the oil and gas industry the bottom fell out of that industry. We lost thousands of jobs with that because we had such a high concentration of jobs that was focused on that industry.” said Curtis Englehart.

Fast forward to the pandemic recession when recovery only took 20 months! Englehart says mesa county is a different place this time around.

Enlgehart added,” We’ve really done an incredible job of diversifying as a local economy. so, we don’t have all our eggs in one particular basket if you will when it comes to specific industries. yes we still have a high concertation of jobs in the oil and gas industry, but we also have that in health care and it.”

But locals supporting locals helped too.

“Our community partners and leaders worked very hard to ensure jobs were still here, business was able to stay open.” Englehart added.

Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President, Diane Schwenke also believes grand junction’s resilient business community, may have been better prepared than other counties.

Diane Schwenke mentioned, “Our small business community was much stronger coming out of this recession caused by the pandemic. they were just in a much better position to recover because they never suffered as much hardship as their peers across the country did.”

With tougher days seemingly behind us, Shwenke believes Grand Junction is now positioned to grow.

“I expect that 2022 is going to be another year of continued growth.” Schwenke stated.

Englehart is optimistic too, but cautiously.

Englehart stated, “Were not out of this yet. I think were on the right path for sure. I would probably say it’s been a bit slower than what we would expect or hope for, but we are making general strides month after month getting back to where we were.