As the capital and largest city in Colorado, the Great Recession hit Denver with force. But, due to the immense economic potential and investments within the city and its metropolitan region, the economic vitality of the area is doing well, even in this economic climate.
Denver Job Market
Denver's economy is robust thanks to its status as the capital and largest city in Colorado. The professional business sector employs around 2.4 million individuals in the Denver metropolitan region, making that sector the largest employer. Denver's unique location and status as the 'Mile-High City' makes it geographically important for tourism and mining. Tourists flock to Denver as a main attraction in Colorado, especially to see the Rocky Mountains and Denver's unique above sea-level geographic. With such rich mountain ranges across the metro region, mining and logging jobs are historically important and currently booming in the Denver economy.
Denver Employment Trends
The city of Denver has done relatively well during the Great Recession. Its worst unemployment rate was in the annual year of 2010, which calculated to a 9.1 percent unemployment rate. As of May 2014, the unemployment rate has dropped to around 5 percent. Between April 2013 and April 2014, the city of Denver added 36,300 jobs, an increase of 2.8 percent. The biggest gains were seen in the mining, logging and construction industries, which saw a 4.8 percent increase in employment over that time span.
Denver Cost of Living
Despite being the economic and political center of Colorado, Denver is relatively affordable, a mere 4 percent above the national average. Utility, transportation and food costs in Denver tend to be lower than the national average. Housing tends to consume the most of resident's budgets, with the average Denver resident using up 33.6 percent of their yearly income on housing. The median home price in the Denver-Aurora area is about $288,400. Estimates have shown housing costs have gone up 10.4 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014.