Industry clusters and growth, oh my!

Categories: Uncategorized

February 8, 2012

A very important part of our mission here at the Chamber is to create a thriving economic climate that makes Colorado an attractive place to do business, and our affiliate the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation leads that charge. As part of that work, the Metro Denver EDC has identified key industry clusters that it targets for company growth and retention.

In late January, the organization released its seventh annual Industry Cluster Study, which provides an overview and competitive analysis of those industry clusters: aerospace, aviation, bioscience, broadcasting and telecommunications, energy, financial services, health care and wellness, and information technology-software.

This year, health care and wellness has been added as a new target cluster. The rationale for this cluster is easy to see when it boasts 169,150 workers in that sector throughout the seven metro Denver counties, plus Larimer and Weld counties, and its rate of job growth was 9.5 percent in 2011. Not only does this industry cluster represent a significant economic impact on our region but it is also part of Colorado’s brand-a healthy, vibrant community.

This year’s report highlights that seven industry clusters and subclusters posted positive job growth-an improvement over last year where only the cleantech cluster showed growth. That is heartening news.
Below are of the details about our clusters and the competitive advantages they offer us (the 2011 job growth percentages are in parentheses):

• Aerospace – The nine-county region ranks second in the country out of the 50 largest metros for private aerospace employment concentration, with 19,500 workers. Job growth from 2006 to 2011 was 11.9 percent, compared to -1.7 percent for the United States. (1.7%)
• Aviation – Denver International Airport is a major economic engine for the region and this industry. In addition, three strategically located reliever airports–Centennial, Front Range, and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan–are vital to the region’s aviation cluster. (-2.7%)
• Bioscience – The region’s medical devices and diagnostics subcluster is competitive nationally, ranking the eighth largest. Employment grew 7.5 percent from 2006-2011, compared to 4.3 percent nationally. (medical devices, 1.1%; pharmaceuticals, -1.2%)
• Broadcasting and Telecommunications – The region remains a major center for this industry due to its location in the Mountain time zone and one-bounce satellite capability, ranking fourth in the nation for employment concentration in 2011. (-0.5%)
• Energy – The region ranks sixth in the United States for both fossil and cleantech employment. Both subclusters posted healthy growth from 2006-2011; fossil, 24.7 percent and cleantech, 35.2 percent. (fossil, 8.2%; cleantech, 6.4%)
• Financial Services – The banking and finance subcluster ranks fourth while investments is eighth in employment concentration. (banking and finance, -0.4%; investments, 1.1%; and insurance, -0.8%)
• Healthcare and Wellness – Employment in the healthcare and wellness cluster has grown consistently since 2006, with 169,150 workers in the nine-county region. (9.5%)
• Information Technology-Software – Software companies employ 2 percent of the region’s total workforce, compared to a one percent employment concentration nationally. The region has 41,640 workers in this sector. (4.7%)

You can read more from this report on the Metro Denver EDC website. This report reminds us of our strengths and shows real reasons why many businesses are feeling more optimistic in 2012.


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