CEO Update: Troubling Economic Indicators

CEO Update: Troubling Economic Indicators

Back in April, my family and I went on a long weekend trip to California, and I was so shocked by the price of gas that I took a picture of the sign.  Prices for regular gas were $6.77 a gallon, $6.87 for plus gas and $6.97 for premium gas. That means to fill up a normal size car, approximately 14 gallons is nearly $95.00.  With costs continuing to rise on everything including gas, I wonder just how long we can continue to survive. And more importantly, what about those people struggling to survive even before the more recent price hikes?

Earlier this week I was reading an article from Kaiser Health News, ‘True Cost of Aging’ Index, which highlighted that many of our country’s older adults can no longer afford things like food, insurance, etc, not to mention that as we age we all hope to enjoy retirement and go see a movie or go on a vacation.  In Colorado, our highest average teacher salary is $53,434 compared to the $61,730 national average; that’s 14% lower pay.  These averages are even worse in our rural communities with ten rural districts paying less than $36,000 to their teachers.  Colorado ranks number 16 overall when surveying economic indicators such as employment, economy, growth, crime and corrections, and fiscal stability.  We also know that Colorado’s cost of housing is on the rise – with the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center ranking Colorado 34th in terms of ‘cost of living’ nationwide.  Salaries and home prices differ  depending on where you live in the state and the data from below was published for the 2022 Snapshot of Rural Health, meaning home prices are likely significantly higher than indicated below.

Median Income                                Median Home Price

Southwest Region:          $60,264                 $346,161

San Luis Valley Region:  $43,734                 $195,810

Northwest Region:          $68,298                 $325,653

Mountain West Region:                $71,156                 $477,104

Eastern Plains Region:    $46,511                 $147,044

I recognize this isn’t new and it isn’t great news.  At CRHC, we have been digging into these issues and pondering effective strategies to combat them including just how all these factors influence workforce and how to tell that story.  Good thing we have a way to share that story! Safety Net Clinic Week (SNCW) is August 15-19.  SNCW is a week where CRHC highlights the work of rural health clinics, the unique challenges facing healthcare in rural, and the opportunities that exist.  This year you can join the conversation by attending our video showcase event on August 18th from 3:30-5:00. Registering here.


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