According to the latest Mountain Monitor report from Brookings Mountain West, the Denver area's gross metropolitan product (meaning the value of all of its produced goods and services) has almost returned to pre-recession levels. In the second quarter of this year, the gross metropolitan product was just .1 percent lower than its highest levels before the recession began.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, this overall return to productivity is not reflected in employment rates. As the report indicates, Denver had a slight improvement in its unemployment rate from June 2009 to June 2010 - but when considered with the broader region, little has changed. The area's unemployment rate remains at 9.3 percent.

The Mountain Monitor also offers an overall performance index for the 100 largest cities in the country, which considers a city's rankings on four critical economic indicators. With slipping ratings on employment, unemployment and house price indicators, the economic climate in Denver remains challenging.

As Brookings Mountain West notes, the defining characteristic of the gradual recovery has been the lack of job creation. If this pace of job creation continues, employment rates will not return to the pre-recession level for another seven years.

The lackluster recovery will have significant consequences for people in Denver for years to come. Many people are getting through tough economic times relying on credit. According to a recent U.S. News and World Report, Denver is the most indebted city in the nation, with an average debt load of $26,636 (not including mortgages). Among other forms of debt, the data indicated an average credit card balance of $6,211.

In combination, debt and joblessness provides an almost impossible situation. Without any form of income, debt generally continues to grow, accelerated by the incredible rates that many credit card users face. In many cases, even once people are able to find jobs, they are so far buried by outstanding bills that the debts may seem insurmountable.

For some people in this situation, bankruptcy is the best option. Bankruptcy can offer a fresh start, providing a new opportunity to build a strong financial future. For more information regarding bankruptcy in Colorado, speak with a knowledgeable attorney.