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Weld County continues economic growth in 2014

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By Ben Wiebesiek

GREELEY — Last year was a positive one for Weld County according to a economic numbers from the major sectors of energy, manufacturing and agriculture.

Upstate Colorado Economic Development, a public/private non-profit economic development corporation that provides services to all of Weld County, released its economic and demographic profile for Weld County, which this year split the county into different zones based on how industries recruit employees.

“We changed the format because before we used to put out just the demographic profile, and now we put out the demographic and economic profile,” said Eric Berglund, president and CEO of Upstate Colorado. “You’ll notice, compared to previous years, we now split the county into three geographic regions, and with that we now have two different labor analyses: one for the north part and one for the south part, because with all the growth in the south part of the county, it pulls from a different labor market.”

With a population estimated to reach 70,867 by 2017, Upstate Colorado states that the southern region of the county has experienced some of the fastest growth over recent years. This area includes Fort Lupton, Carbon Valley, Brighton, Platteville and Keenesburg.

“Offering an attractive small town/rural quality of life with abundant new homes, excellent  schools and breathtaking mountain views; the region is strategically located just north of metro Denver and east of Boulder, which has fueled booming residential growth,” Upstate Colorado reported. “With an estimated 21,781 households and $278.7 million in retail sales, the region is poised to see continued growth.” 

The median household income average is $63,830, the median home value average is $202,386, according to the report. 

“Commercial/industrial sites are available and large tracts of undeveloped land provide opportunity for future growth. East/west access is provided by Highway 52, which connects to I-76 and I-25. North/south access is provided by I-25 and Highway 85, which connect to I-70 in Denver and I-80 in Wyoming. DIA is 20, 30 minutes away,” the report stated.

Berglund cited a report from a non-profit, non-partisan, think tank showing that the metropolitan statistical area in Weld County is leader nationwide in the ongoing economic recovery.

“The Milken Institute in mid-December came out with a report and the Greeley/Weld County-MSA is now number 10 in the top 10 best performing cities in the country,” Berglund said. “So that was some great news, and we continue to see Weld County rank high on lists because of the increases we’ve had in the energy industry as well as manufacturing and agriculture.”

The Upstate Colorado report lists the largest private non-retail employers in the county for 2013, and Halliburton Energy Services in Fort Lupton ranked number five on the list with 800 full-time employees.

“2013 was a positive year for Weld County,” Berglund said. “I think the when the Great Recession occurred, we obviously saw dips in our economy. The heaviest hit was in construction because construction was slowed down across the board.”

But Berglund said the dip was milder in Weld County than in other places.

“With the recovery, we’ve seen increases and expansion in food and [agriculture], we’ve had increases and expansion in manufacturing, construction is coming back in a big way,” Berglund said. “So I think there’s good overall growth. And when the last unemployment figures came out, we were down one percent from the year before, which is indicative of the new job opportunities.”

 

Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email bwiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.