You might have heard that Colorado’s job market is strong and that unemployment is impressively low (2.7%, in fact). That means there are a lot of job opportunities in the state—and potential career paths to consider.
But maybe you want to know more specifics. What are the big industries fueling our economy? Where are we seeing the most job growth? Here’s a look at 13 key industries in Colorado, with data provided by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade:
1. Advanced Manufacturing – More than 6,300 advanced manufacturing companies employ 112,000 people in Colorado. With companies like Raytheon, TerumoBCT, MillerCoors, Lockheed Martin, Vestas and Northrop Grumman—and the Advanced Industries Accelerator program that awards grants to further grow this industry—it’s a strong one here in the Centennial state.
Interested in a career in advanced manufacturing? Check out the four programs at FRCC’s new Center for Integrated Manufacturing.
2. Aerospace – Colorado has the nation’s second-largest aerospace economy, with 997 companies here—including Surrey Satellite, Lockheed Martin, and Ball Aerospace and Technologies. The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder provides state-of-the-art resources for the science community. There are 17,000 people employed in this thriving industry.
3. Bioscience – More than 1,700 bioscience-related companies call Colorado home, employing more than 18,000 people. In fact, Colorado is home to one of the largest concentrations of federally-funded science and research labs in the nation. You’ll find companies like DaVita, Sandoz, Cochlear, Medtronic, and Quest Diagnostics thriving here.
4. Electronics – The Colorado electronics industry supports other key industries ranging from aerospace to advanced manufacturing. Forbes ranked Denver-Aurora-Lakewood as one of the country’s best manufacturing cities—and companies like Arrow Electronics, Oracle, Intel and IBM employ more than 28,000 people in the state.
5. Energy and Natural Resources – You’ll find 6,000+ companies employing more than 75,000 people in energy and natural resources—from those championing clean energy technologies to traditional oil and gas companies. Halliburton, Encana, Vestas, Woodward, and Noble Energy are just a few of the employer names you might recognize.
6. Infrastructure and Engineering – There are more than 9,800 infrastructure and engineering companies employing 137,000 people in Colorado. Jobs range from plumbers and pipefitters to construction laborers to general and operations managers. Major employers include CH2M Hill, Jacobs Engineering Group, Johns Manville, and Kiewit Corporation.
7. Technology and Information – Startups and large corporations alike are drawn to Colorado for its dense ecosystem of venture capital and its educated workforce. Nearly 7,000 companies employ more than 66,000 people—including companies like IBM, Google, Dell, Amazon, Oracle Corporation, and CenturyLink.
8. Health & Wellness– Most people know that Colorado is one of the fittest states, but the health and wellness industry also employs more than 300,000 people at 16,400 employers. There’s the award-winning Children’s Hospital Colorado as well as Banner Health, Centura Health, Kaiser Permanente, the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, among many others.
9. Tourism and Outdoor Recreation – If there’s one thing Colorado is known for, it’s the outdoors! The tourism industry overall is strong, from our wine industry to our skiing tourism. Companies like Vail Resorts, Aspen Ski Company, Frontier Airlines, and Southwest Airlines—among more than 7,000 others—employ more than 175,000 people.
10. Creative Industries – Design… film and media… performing arts… visual arts and crafts… Colorado ranks sixth in the nation for its percentage of workforce in creative class occupations. You’ll find more than 9,000 companies in this industry employing 164,500 people. Think employers like Starz, DISH Network, Comcast, and Rocky Mountain PBS.
11. Financial Services – Colorado has the largest financial center between Los Angeles and Chicago. There are 9,400 companies here employing nearly 90,000 people. One of only six U.S. Mint locations is here as are financial services companies like Morgan Stanley, U.S. Bancorp, Janus Capital Group, Liberty Mutual, and BellCo.
12. Food and Agriculture – There are farms and ranches across our state, but there’s also a bustling natural and organic foods industry—as well as craft beverage makers and global restaurant franchises. More than 4,000 companies employ 115,000 people here, including Anheuser-Busch, Cargill, Leprino Foods Company, MillerCoors Brewing, PepsiCo Bottling Company, and Shamrock Foods.
13. Transportation and Logistics – Colorado is one of the nation’s premier transportation hubs, home to freight railroads, public use airports, and major state and federal highways. Nearly 200,000 people work for 16,000+ companies like Denver International Airport, SkyWest Airlines, United Parcel Service, and FedEx Corporation.
As you can see, there’s a lot of opportunity in our great state. Front Range Community College is here to help you get geared up for your future.