Metro Denver’s employer base represents a cross-section of industries, with seven key industry clusters targeted for growth and expansion. These diverse industries are critical to the economic base of the nine-county metro Denver and northern Colorado regions and are primary targets for economic development efforts.
More than 54,300 private sector workers and military personnel worked in Colorado’s aerospace cluster in 2009. The state is home to four military commands, eight major space contractors, and more than 300 aerospace companies and suppliers. Colorado ranked first among the 50 states for private aerospace employment concentration in 2009.
Denver International Airport and three reliever airports create a solid foundation for the 15,690 workers directly employed by aviation companies. The nine-county region ranked 10th among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas for aviation employment concentration in 2009.
In 2009, the region’s businesses employed 5,610 biotechnology and pharmaceuticals workers and 9,480 workers in medical devices and instruments production. Ten local higher education institutions support the cluster with bioscience programs and research assets, as does the Fitzsimons Life Science District and the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
Broadcasting and Telecommunications
Denver’s Mountain time zone location makes it the largest U.S. region with one-bounce satellite uplinks, which give companies real-time connections to six of seven continents. With a broad mix of broadcasting and telecommunications firms, the region ranked fourth out of the 50 largest metro areas for broadcasting and telecommunications employment concentration in 2009.
The Rocky Mountain region is a key fossil fuel production corridor with large concentrations of coal, oil, and natural gas. The region is also the leader in energy research and clean technology, which encompasses renewable energy and energy efficiency activities. The region’s abundant natural resources and several key energy research facilities have attracted numerous clean technology manufacturers and their suppliers to the area. Consider that, in 2009, fossil fuel and clean technology companies employed more than 32,000.
The region is one of the few areas outside of the Northeast with a substantial financial services industry in three key market segments. A variety of trade associations and service firms support the region’s diverse financial services industry base of more than 11,930 companies and 93,950 employees.
Information Technology (IT) – Software
A strong entrepreneurial spirit fuels this small business-dominated cluster, which employed 42,300 workers in the region in 2009. According to a report by the TechAmerica Foundation, Colorado has the nation’s fifth-largest employment base in software publishing. The state also ranked seventh in total venture capital investment in 2009. More than 1,100 Colorado deals closed for a total of $528.8 million in investment. Investments in biotechnology – including a major pharmaceutical deal – represented roughly 50 percent of the total venture dollars.