Denver Named The Top City In The U.S. For Economic Success…Is Marijuana Legalization The Catalyst?

Area Development magazine released its list of the most economically successful cities in America and Denver, Colorado came out on top. As expected, that has led many marijuana business owners in the area to take responsibility for their city’s turnaround. Yet, the magazine fails to specifically pinpoint marijuana as the main reason, let alone a reason for the city and the state’s economic success. Even more interesting is that Area Development put three other cities in Colorado in the Top 20. Also of importance is another city that made the Top 10: the fully legal Seattle, Washington.

Denver was named the best metro area in the nation for economic development and jobs in the 2015 “Leading Locations” report, which compared 375 U.S. metro statistical areas on “creating jobs and nurturing sustainable economic development.” The cities were evaluated on having skilled, well-qualified workers; patterns of economic strength and growth; and “recession-busting” attributes that helped them recover from the downturn.

The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metro area was rated first for economic strength indicators; seventh for year-over-year growth, and eighth for both workforce and recession-busting attributes. The report also went on to state that “communities in metro Denver have diverse economies, including advanced manufacturing and other high-tech industries like aerospace, telecommunications, biotechnology, and clean energy.” The report also said that Denver and northern Colorado combined rank sixth in the nation for clean-energy development and that Denver is emerging as a financial services center.

The Greeley area (defined as Weld County) ranked fourth overall, including first in the nation for year-over-year growth, thanks in part to being “in the heart of Colorado oil country — its second key industry. Food processing, construction, and retail are also on the rise. Major companies are State Farm, Noble Energy, and [JBS] USA — the biggest producer of meat protein in the world.”

The Boulder area (Boulder County) finished at No. 9 overall and No. 8 for year-over-year growth, while Fort Collins-Loveland (Larimer County) came in at No. 20. Other Colorado cities to make the list included Colorado Springs at No. 129, Pueblo at No. 215, and Grand Junction at No. 227.

Here is Area Development’s top 10 U.S. “Leading Locations” for 2015:

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Houston, TX
  3. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  4. Greeley, CO
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. San Jose, CA
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Columbus, OH
  9. Boulder, CO
  10. Austin, TX


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