Denver is America’s best place for business and careers out of 200 cities, and Fort Collins is No. 10, Forbes magazine declares in its latest annual ranking.
“The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area, home to 2.8 million people, is attractive for its diverse economy, highly educated labor force and outdoor recreational opportunities,” report author Kurt Badenhausen writes. “Companies are increasingly choosing Denver as the site for new operations or to relocate.”
Forbes’ report cites “Denver’s relatively central location [which] makes it a natural location as a distribution hub for the American West, while also supporting a number of growing industries in technology and telecommunications.”
Energy is “another staple of Denver’s economy,” it says. The report also lauds Denver for its arts and cultural scene, including the Denver Art Museum and Denver Performing Arts Complex, as well as “bustling neighborhoods such as LoDo, … filled with art galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs,” and its outdoor attractions.
“The good news is this ranking validates what we’ve known for years about the Denver metro area: We’ve got an incredibly smart, healthy workforce, a region that works together toward shared success and great quality of life that makes people want to build their lives and their businesses here,” said Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, in response to the accolade from Forbes.
“The bad news is we can’t beat it next time,” she added.
It’s the first time in the 17-year history of the Forbes ranking that Denver has hit the top spot. Denver ranked No. 4 on Forbes’ list last year and Fort Collins was No. 5. In 2013, Denver came in at No. 6 and Fort Collins No. 7.
“We’re all smiling around here today,” said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “We’ve always aspired to be No. 1. You can tell the public that it really doesn’t matter, but it really does matter.”
Clark said that the No. 1 ranking can only help with his agency’s business-recruitment efforts. “We’re kinda always in the top 10 (in the Forbes’ ranking), but when you get that top spot, it does get people’s attention,” he said.
Other Colorado cities on Forbes best-places-for-business list:
Boulder, No. 26.
Greeley, No. 33.
Colorado Springs, No. 37.
Nationally, Raleigh, North Carolina, comes in at No. 2 after Denver, followed by Portland, Oregon; Provo, Utah; and Atlanta.
The magazine’s ranking of the nation’s 200 largest metro areas is based on 12 factors related to jobs, costs (business and living), income growth, quality of life and education of the labor force.
Earlier this month, an annual ranking by Area Development magazine rated Denver the best metro area in the nation for economic development and jobs, and three other Colorado cities placed in the top 20.
Read more at Denver Business Journal