Positive Growth, Thriving Businesses
Denver has more than 500 large businesses – those with 250 or more workers – and the region’s largest employers represent a diverse cross-section of industries including aerospace, aviation, bioscience, financial services, and telecommunications.
With major employers located throughout metro Denver, the region has a good geographic balance of employment centers. In fact, two metro Denver companies – Liberty Media and Western Union – were named to Fortune magazine’s 2010 list of The World’s Most Admired Companies.
The state is also good for growing businesses, and metro Denver reaps the benefits of that. In 2009, Colorado ranked sixth in the nation for research money obtained from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. That year, Colorado recipients secured 281 awards totaling $92.2 million in SBIR funds. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) funds with 33 awards totaling $12.8 million.
Technology and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of the state – and of Denver. Colorado ranks third in the nation for its concentration of high-tech jobs, according to the TechAmerica Foundation’s 2010 Cyberstates Report. And, the average wages for high technology workers in Colorado are 92 percent higher than the state’s overall private sector average.
Colorado also ranks third in the nation for its ability to support a knowledge- and technology-based economy, according to the Milken Institute’s 2008 State Technology and Science Index. The index measured 77 indicators in five categories – including education, the science and engineering workforce, research and development, high-tech employment concentration, and entrepreneurial environment – and Colorado ranked among the nation’s top five states in each of the categories.
Like many cities and economies nationwide, Denver’s economy fell into recession in late 2008. But, despite a 4.4 percent job loss between 2008 and 2009, the region’s unemployment rate remained considerably below the national average. And that’s good news for both employees and relocating businesses.
The most recent edition of Toward a More Competitive Colorado from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., which benchmarks Colorado’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities for future job growth, also shows a positive outlook for the state’s future. The state’s top-10 rankings included college-level educational attainment, high-tech employment, venture capital and initial public offerings, and numerous measures of business costs and general economic strength.
In the end, there’s no doubt that Denver’s appealing quality of life, federal and city government support, strategic partnerships, smart workforce, and positive growth have all contributed to the city’s business success – and to its bright future.