A big-city feel - several professional sports teams - a thriving finance scene - sounds like New York City. Actually, these refer to Denver, Colorado. Employment in this mid-western city is on the rise - and the finance industry is among the greatest drivers of that growth, according to recent figures. With a number of amenities worthy of NYC and other major metropolitan areas, not to mention access to first-class skiing and hiking, Denver is shaping up to be a sought-after destination for both job seekers and employers.
"Denver is shaping up to be a sought-after destination for both job seekers and employers."
Colorado employment higher than expected in 2014
The statistics for Colorado's third quarter in 2014 got an upward revision recently, according to the state's Department of Labor and Employment. The amendment is not insignificant - the employment levels for June, July and August will get nearly a 7 percent boost. On the year, the new employment rate for Colorado will have increased by 3.3 percent.
Not every employment sector experienced the same adjustment - some were higher and others were lower. Financial services was one industry that helped lead the way for the new gains. The sector gained 3.3 percent, 4.9 percent, and 4.2 percent in June, July and August 2014, respectively. The revised numbers for the fourth quarter of 2014 are not yet available, but continued upward alterations are not out of reach.
"Denver is the place to be for business," said Michael Bates, Division Director of Beacon Hill Technologies in Denver. "With employment up 11 percent since 2010 and up 3 percent in 2014 alone, businesses of all types are opening doors, relocating and recognizing the value of having a presence in Colorado. Denver is no longer a well-kept secret."
More growth is on the way
These past revisions are encouraging, but they don't mean much without an accompanying projection for continued expansion. Fortunately, the Skills for Jobs report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education offers exactly those metrics. The analysis includes forecasts for growth among specific jobs in the period from 2013 to 2023.
Financial industry jobs appear up and down the list. Financial manager positions should increase by 28.2 percent in that time period, while accountants, auditors, credit analysts and financial analysts are all marked with over 30 percent growth. These positions require no more than a bachelor's degree and little additional training.
"This report helps connect the dots between our institutions of higher education and future workforce needs to ensure an aligned system that benefits the entire state," Lt. Governor Joe Garcia told the Denver Business Journal.
Denver takes the spotlight
While the above facts are statewide numbers that apply to Denver as well as other areas, Colorado's capital city is performing as well as or better than many of the other metropolitan areas. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.'s ninth annual Industry Cluster Study indicated nine out of 12 major industry segments experienced growth in 2014's third quarter. The investment and insurance sub-clusters within the financial services cluster were among the areas that posted jobs growth.
For the Denver metropolitan area, a diverse and even jobs scene will help stave off some of the recent economic difficulties posed by the recent oil price decline.
"In the 1980s, we were Coors, carbon and the Cold War," Metro EDC CEO Tom Clark told the Post. "That was about it. And now we have eight dynamic clusters, and the employment gains in those clusters have been extraordinary. We are in much better shape."
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