An analysis of the unemployment rate in Rep. Betsy Markey's (D-Colo.) district spells trouble for her reelection prospects.

The 4th district has been steadily losing jobs — the number of non-farm positions in its 16 counties declined by 3.7 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to the The Coloradoan.

The job losses were really centered in the two more urban counties, Larimer and Weld. Those two counties lost a combined 4.2 percent of their jobs in 2009. The 14 rural counties saw a 1.2 percent decline in jobs.

 That's significant because the rural counties are deep, deep red and likely will vote almost 2-1 for [Republican Cory] Gardner no matter what the economy does. Markey built her 2008 victory margin in Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties and she'll need another strong performance there to win re-election.

But if the job picture isn't improving by the fall, the national dynamic of punishing the party in power for a poor economy likely will play out here. And expect Republicans to go hard after Markey for statements like praising "a stimulus bill that has gotten us out of the recession."

Meanwhile, an economist at the University of Colorado in Boulder predicted that the state could lose six times more jobs this year than earlier predicted. The analysis predicts 20,250 jobs will be lost in the state in 2010.

Markey's Republican challenger used the revised estimate to hit the freshman lawmaker.

"Colorado is suffering under the failed policies of Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic majority," Gardner said in a statement. "This revision is more evidence that the recession is not over and that government spending will not create private sector jobs."