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Region 9 EDD Releases Latest Livable-Wage Study


Study finds that average annual wages in most employment sectors do not provide enough income to meet a family of four's basic needs. This story is sponsored by Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Choice Building Supply Ace Hardware

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Surprise, Montezuma County is the least expensive community in Southwest Colorado. At least that's according to the latest livable wage study that the Region 9 Economic Development District recently released. You're watching the Local News Roundup, brought to you by Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Choice Building Supply ACE Hardware. I'm Hannah Robertson. And the most expensive town in Southwest Colorado, Pagosa Springs. La Plata County falls in second behind Archuleta County. A livable wage is the amount of money someone would have to earn to cover essential needs like rent, healthcare, childcare, and groceries. Region 9 used estimated expenditures from a Colorado center on law and policy study prepared by The Center for Women's Welfare at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Colorado's minimum wage pays $12.56 an hour or about $26,500 a year. If both adults in a four-person household worked full-time for minimum wage, total income would be about $53,000 a year. But in Archuleta County, it costs a family of four about $92,800 annually to cover living expenses. That means both adults would have to work full time, and each earn a minimum of about $22.00 an hour to cover costs. Average annual wage in Archuleta County is a little more than $39,000. Only 42% of the estimated livable wage. Montezuma County was the least expensive for a household with two adults and two children. Average cost of living in Montezuma County was about $72,000 annually. So both adults would have to work full time, and each earn a minimum of about $17.00 an hour. Average annual wage across all industries in Montezuma county is just shy of $40,000 or 44% less than the estimated cost of living. La Plata County was the second most expensive place to live for a family of four. Average cost of living for La Plata County families is about $87,000, and each adult would have to earn more than $20.00 an hour to afford the basics. Average wage in La Plata County is $51,000, 40% less than what will cover basic needs. The study found that most employment sectors in the five counties that comprise Region 9 do not provide enough income to meet the basic needs of a family of four. You can download a copy of the report at Mancos Days, a celebration of the Mancos Valley's heritage, will run July 29th and 30th and will include a parade, softball and volleyball tournaments, a car show, vendors, and more. The VFW Auxiliary 5231 has selected Jeanne Smith as the 2022 Mancos Days queen. To be named queen, the nominee must have lived in Mancos for at least 50 years and has contributed to the community in some way. Smith will be honored at a Queen's Tea at 1:00 p.m. on Friday July 29th, at the Mancos Community Center. She also will be part of a parade on Saturday, July 30th. To view a schedule of events, visit A global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions has announced plans to build a boutique solar farm on 2000 acres of private land about 20 miles Northwest of Cortez. In a letter sent to the city of Cortez, Invenergy Renewables, which builds sustainable energy projects worldwide, said the 127-megawatt solar power generator will interconnect with tri-states Yellow Jacket number two switching station. It plans to host an in-person open house from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 8th, at the Pleasant View Fire Department. The project will require high-impact and special use permits from Montezuma County. If the solar project is approved, the company will invest more than 16 million dollars in the local economy over the life of the project. Construction will support more than 200 jobs, and once completed, the array will require four full-time staff members. The 127 megawatts of sustainable energy will power more than 27,000 homes and reduce emissions equivalent to taking 23,000 vehicles off the road. You can learn more by contacting Boutique Solar Energy Project at Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Roundup. I'm Hannah Robertson.


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