Denver’s Changing Economy

Part Two
by Jeff Haanen

With over 100,000 new Colorado residents in 2016, Denver is booming. Cranes dot the skyline, buildings are popping up across the city (especially around Union Station), and Denver is quickly becoming one of the most attractive places to live in the United States.

My last post focused on Denver’s economic history. Here, I’ll give a very brief overview of Denver’s thriving economy today.

Denver’s Thriving Economy Today

1. Denver is attracting a new generation of worker, both for our outdoor/recreation opportunities and for our thriving job market.

  • Millennials are flocking to Denver. From 2010-2013, Denver welcomed over 12,000 25-34 year olds, the second most of any American city (tied with San Francisco).
  • This is part of a larger national trend in which the American economy is shifting westward.

2. Technology Start-ups and business accelerators have made the Denver metro region a magnet for tech talent.

  • Nationally known accelerators like Tech Stars in Boulder attract some of the world’s top tech talent to state,
  • Tech start-ups such as Ibotta, Home Advisor, Craftsy, On Deck Capital and Gnip (acquired by Twitter in 2014) have made their homes in Denver.

3. Unemployment is at 2.7 percent, lowest of any American metro region of over a million people.

4. Major businesses have set up new corporate headquarters in Denver.

  • Ardent Mills, the world’s largest flour producer, brought it’s headquarters to Denver in 2014.
  • Charles Schwab built a $230 million campus in Lone Tree, and brought 1,900 workers to the metro region.
  • Overall, Denver added 27,000 new jobs and 1,500 new business from 2011 to 2014.

5. Union Station was a $1.8 billion project, and it now serves as the transportation and economic hub of the city.

6. The new National Western Complex will cost $1.2 billion and continue to attract over 700,000 people from over 40 countries for the annual Western Stock Show.

7. The new FasTracks improvements – a commuter rail, light rail and bus service – is the largest buildout of a metro transit system since Washington D.C.’s Metro (total cost: $7.4 billion). As of April 21, 2016, the light rail now connects all the way from Denver International Airport to Union Station in LoDo.

  • Mayor Hancock has called the area surrounding the new light rail the “Corridor of Opportunity” because of the new businesses and residential developments that will likely follow the new transportation line.

8. Denver is home to one of the largest city park systems in the United States.

9. Based on planned construction, Denver will continue to grow for years to come.

Click here to read Part 1 in the series and click here to read Part 3.

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Jeff Haanen

Jeff Haanen is a writer and entrepreneur. He founded Denver Institute for Faith & Work, a community of conveners, teachers and learners offering experiences and educational resources on the gospel, work, and community renewal. He is the author of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life and an upcoming two-book series on spiritual formation, vocation, and the working class for Intervarsity Press. He lives with his wife and four daughters in Denver and attends Wellspring Church in Englewood, Colorado.