Colorado proves its mettle as a top state for business and tourism once again 


A just-released study by that compared all 50 states in 10 categories that are featured in their economic development marketing materials to demonstrate why current and potential businesses should locate there, ranked Colorado number four overall. CNBC weighted each category based on how states themselves emphasize it as a selling point, using criteria and metrics developed by a diverse group of business experts. 

This chart shows the top five states ranked by CNBC for business attractiveness. Colorado is number four.

Colorado ranked number one overall for the quality of its workforce, which happened to be the number one factor on CNBC’s weighted list. Out of a total of 2,500 possible points overall, workforce accounted for 410, or 16%. The second most important factor, by weight, was infrastructure, where Colorado came in at number 16. Our state’s lowest ranking was for Cost of Doing Business, where we were 36th. Colorado ranked between 9th and 16th for its economy, life, health and inclusion, technology and innovation, education, and business friendliness. We came in 34th in the category of Cost of Living, which was one of the lower weighted categories in this study.

Ranked number one overall in this study was North Carolina, followed by Washington and Virginia, just ahead of Colorado. Last on the list for business attractiveness was Mississippi, just below Alaska and Louisiana. Our usual close competitor, Utah, came in at number eight.

Corroborating CNBC’s findings, national commercial real estate organization CBRE issued a report on July 14, “2021 Scoring Tech Talent,” in which they “explored what markets have the biggest Tech talent pools and what markets are seeing the biggest growth. 

Of the 50 markets ranked by CBRE by the number of tech talent professionals, Denver came in 12th, beating out Dallas/Ft. Worth, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Portland. The San Francisco Bay Area was first, followed by Seattle, which is home to Amazon, Costco and Microsoft, among others.

CBRE pointed to Denver’s having grown its number of tech workers by 31% in just the past five years. They also said that 5,000 workers relocate to Denver every year to work in the tech industry. In addition, over 32% of Denver’s population consists of millennials, which is ten points higher than the national average, bringing energy to the market. Lastly, CBRE pointed to Denver’s strong reputation as a live-work-play environment, making it “not only a great place to work but also a great place to live,” for many reasons, including its proximity to ski mountains.   

Looking at our economy from the aspect of tourism, Visit Denver’s annual report for 2021 said that 31.7 million people visited the metro area last year, a 14.5% increase over 2020, and they spent $6.6 billion. These numbers show nearly a complete recovery, closely approaching the record pre-pandemic statistic of 31.9 million visitors and $7 billion in spending in 2019. The report also showed that “overnight visitation from the leisure market was particularly strong in 2021, hitting 14.8 million, a 27% increase over 2020.” One area that has not shown as strong a recovery is business travel, which rose only 3% from 2020 to 2021. Statistics for this year were not yet available.