By Kelley King
A national ranking singling out the Fort Collins/Loveland region recently highlighted what many Northern Colorado residents love about the area: It’s not Boulder.
On the annual U.S. Best Performing Cities index compiled by the Milken Institute, Fort Collins/Loveland skyrocketed 47 places to No. 3 because the region offers “many of the same amenities as Boulder but at a lower cost.”
The ranking, which highlights the country’s best performing cities in areas such as jobs, wages and technology performance, also saluted the region for efforts by Colorado State University to help attract high-tech firms.
“Being home of a major high-performing research university is a big plus,” said David May, president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. “Colorado State University adds ballast that lets us ride out a rough economy better than most places.”
The Texan Connection
Fort Collins/Loveland came in No. 3 behind San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, on the ranking.
The Milken Institute attributed Texas cities’ success on the report with continuing employment gains and employers creating one of every six new jobs in the U.S. through October.
Additionally, high-performing Texas cities benefit from a lower reliance on durable goods manufacturing, low business costs, an ongoing consolidation of military bases and continued energy development, according to the report.
“There were some common themes among top-performing metro areas across the country,” Ross DeVol, Milken Institute’s chief research officer, said in a news release. “Many that did the best were those that took advantage of the boom in energy production and increased investment in equipment by businesses.”
More than Fort Collins
In analyzing the information used by the Milken Institute for the rankings, May urged people to recognize the honor is for a region, not just one municipality.
“Keep in mind that this data is for the Fort Collins/Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area, basically Larimer County,” he said. “Being near the top of the list is not a surprise, but jumping 47 spots is impressive.”
Recognizing that Fort Collins and Loveland are the highest-ranked Colorado cities by the Milken Institute, May pointed to several of the area’s biggest attractions.
“Having a diverse economic base, a highly educated and productive workforce and innovation-driven economy centered around CSU, gives the region some important advantages,” he said.
About the study: The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, independent think tank in Santa Monica, Calif.