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When will Denver's economy get rolling again?

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                                 Nowhere to roll

The economy is difficult to measure. America's unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in January yet new jobless claims rose to 480,000. The stock market began 2010 well, but it's been tanking lately. A short-term correction or an indication that economic recovery has stalled? There has to be a better way to gauge economic activity.

Along Smith Road in Northeast Denver are long lines of empty freight cars parked on railroad sidings. They've been there for months and months and months collecting rust and dust and graffiti. Once needed to distibute America's industrial output around the country, they are now as idle as the factory workers who made the goods they transported.

So how will know when the Great Recession is truly over? When credit flows again, the factories reopen, goods are produced, workers are re-hired, people begin purchasing and freight cars roll.

Forget the economists, keep your eye on Smith Road.

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