Economy: 8 industry clusters now dominate metro region

Economic development experts now identify eight industry clusters that dominate the Denver regional economy:

  • Aerospace
  • Aviation
  • Bioscience
  • Broadcasting & Telecommunications
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Health Care and Wellness
  • Information Technology/Software

Below, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.’s 2012 Industry Cluster Study, is a review of  developments in each cluster:

Aerospace — Colorado has reclaimed its standing as the second-largest space economy in the United States, behind California. The nine-county, metro Denver region, with 19,500 space workers, ranks second out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in total private aerospace employment concentration. Officials began working with the Federal Aviation Administration in late 2011 to designate a spaceport in the state.

Aviation — Denver International Airport now employs 14,650 workers and continues to develop a hotel and train station to connect the airport to Denver Union Station in downtown Denver, part of the regional FasTracks project.

Bioscience — More than 14,100 employees work at 600 bioscience companies in the nine-county region. The medical devices and diagnostics subcluster ranks eighth in the nation for employment concentration.

Broadcasting & Telecommunications — The nine-county region, with 40,500 broadcasting and telecommunications workers, ranks fourth in the nation for employment concentration among 50 of the largest metropolitan areas.

Energy — The combination of fossil fuel and cleantech employment, 41,230 people at 3,120 companies, ranks the area sixth in the nation in employment concentration.

Financial Services — The nine-county region boasts 13,320 companies and 86,070 employees in one of the largest areas outside the Northeast with a significant financial industry in three market segments: banking and finance, investments and insurance.

Health Care and Wellness — With more than 169,150 health-care and wellness workers in 17,950 companies across the nine counties, this industry cluster is one of the fastest growing in the region. It was raised to “major” status for the region in 2012 by virtue of a 9.5 percent growth rate in 2011.

Information Technology/Software — Colorado ranked third in the nation for high-tech workers per capita according to the TechAmerica Fondation’s Cyberstates 2011 report.