If there’s any doubt that Colorado has fully recovered from the Recession – and then some – a recent study should put that to rest.
Denver ranked 12th among the Top 25 Best Performing Large Cities, rated by the 2014 edition of the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities. Boulder and Greeley came in just below, at 13th and 14th. Fort Collins ranked 17th. The only other state with more cities in the top 25 was Texas, with seven.
The study took into account several measures, including job growth, wage and salary growth and the size and concentration of high tech industry.
“Technology and shale energy were the biggest factors behind America’s booming cities – especially technology,” according to the report. The top 6 cities—San Francisco, Calif.; Austin, TX; Provo, UT; San Jose, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Salt Lake City, UT – were hubs of high tech activity. Energy centers were also prevalent on the list.
The report singled out two major assets for the Denver area: its highly skilled workforce (40% have at least a bachelor’s degree) and the fact that it’s a center of diverse high-tech activity.
Noted the report: “Professional, scientific, and technical services have been vital to the metro’s performance in recent years: The sector ranked first for jobs created in both the last year (adding almost 6,500 jobs) and in the five years ending in 2013 (almost 10,800 more jobs)….
“In addition to the professional services sector, restaurants and bars, outpatient care, and corporate headquarters based in the metro each added more than 2,000 jobs in 2013.This diversity will help the metro withstand economic shocks that affect one industry.”
Metro areas that showed the largest declines tended to be located in the Middle Atlantic and New England states. Detroit, Akron, Toledo and Cleveland also ranked low.
Overall, though, the report was optimistic about the country’s future.
“All signs point to further growth: lower household debt burdens, recovering house prices, falling oil prices, and higher business investment supported by large corporate balances. Additionally, improving labor markets and lower mortgage rates seem to be boosting housing markets,” said the report.