Magnetism represents attractive or repulsive forces between physical objects. A state’s magnetic strength, on the other hand, involves forces attracting or repelling individuals and businesses to or from certain locations. Some individuals, for example, prefer tropical weather; others are repelled by snow. Many, however, are attracted by economic conditions and life style. Sunshine, mild temperatures, high-country playgrounds and resorts, and entertainment in front-range urban areas contribute to Colorado’s quality of life and magnetic pull.
Economic Trends. The booming state economy sends positive signals throughout the country. The state’s unemployment rate of 2.9% compares favorably to the nation’s 4.5%. Additionally, the state’s disposable personal income - after tax discretionary income available for spending - is 10% above the Rocky Mountain region that includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, and is 39% higher than Mississippi, the lowest state in the country. U.S. Census Bureau reports show Colorado and Utah with the fastest population growth in the Rocky Mountain region. Migration to Colorado accounted for nearly 60% of the population gain since 2010.
The list below shows faster income growth in Colorado from reports of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Wages and salaries, for example, grew 18% faster in Colorado than nationwide, while income in construction grew more than 50% faster. Rapid growth of proprietor’s income reflects entrepreneurial opportunities here.
Colorado Income: Percent Greater than the U.S. Growth 2010-16
|Disposable personal income||53%|
|Earnings in construction||61%|
|Wages and salaries||18%|
|Construction of buildings||51%|
|Data processing, hosting and related services||28%|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||6%|
|Finance and insurance||34%|
|Real estate and leasing||28%|
|Health care and social assistance||26%|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||24%|
|Accommodation and food services||21%|
Interstate Comparisons. US News & World Report’s 2017 ranking of states puts Colorado at number 1 for its economy and number 9 overall. The table shows five categories for Colorado compared to the top-3 and bottom-3 states. Rank 7 for infrastructure represents quality and resilience of transportation, energy and internet systems. At 11, health care reflects distinction for access to and quality of care, as well as health of residents. Although Colorado placed 8 in higher education, measures of pre-K to 12 grades pulled its education rank down to 18.
The state ranked 11 for economic opportunity, but affordability, basically house prices relative to income, adversely affected total opportunities here. Nevertheless, the state’s attractive pull generated strong demand for houses, pulling up house prices about 45% in the last five years. Local markets responded as housing units authorized by building permit quadrupled since 2009, with multi-unit structures up more than 700%. Finally, the state’s government rank at 13 reveals positive features such as transparency, fiscal stability and use of technology in serving residents.
The 2017 state rankings provide an impressive picture of Colorado’s magnetic pull that will generate more improvements here through 2017.
US News & World Report: 2017 Best State Rankings
|Overall Rank||Economy||Education||Health Care||Infrastructure||Government|
|1 Massachusetts||1 COLORADO||1 Massachusetts||1 Hawaii||1 Oregon||1 Indiana|
|2 New Hampshire||2 North Dakota||2 New Jersey||2 Massachusetts||2 Washington||2 Virginia|
|3 Minnesota||3 California||3 New Hampshire||3 New Hampshire||3 Utah||3 Utah|
|9 COLORADO||18 COLORADO||11 COLORADO||7 COLORADO||13 COLORADO|
|48 Arkansas||1 COLORADO|
|1 Massachusetts||48 Mississippi||48 New Mexico||48 Oklahoma||48 Hawaii||48 Kansas|
|49 Mississippi||49 West Virginia||49 Nevada||49 Mississippi||49 Texas||49 Nevada|
|50 Louisiana||50 Alaska||50 South Carolina||50 Arkansas||50 Mississippi||50 New Jersey|
Colorado’s Magnetic Attraction by Paul J. Kozlowski