Denver Rated in Top-10 Best

MarketWatch: Denver is nation’s 6th-best city for business

Denver Business Journal – by Mark Harden

Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 8:31am MST

Denver is the nation’s sixth-best city for business out of 102 major metro areas, MarketWatch declares in its annual ranking.

“[A] perennial top 10 city, Denver continues to attract businesses of all types looking for quality of life,” the business-news-and-information website says.

It says Denver “seems to have no trouble attracting new companies,” noting the recent decision by kidney-care giant DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) to locate its headquarters here.

MarketWatch, which has compiled its ranking for four years, evaluated 102 large cities, using a variety of measures that break down into two categories: “company score,” the concentration of businesses within a metro area, and “economic score,” which takes into account unemployment, job growth, population growth, personal income and local gross domestic product.

It said it used more metric categories this year than before, partly to better reflect tourism business and the economic impact of military bases.

Denver’s total score is 980, its company score is 599, and its economic score is 381.

Denver’s company score is second-highest of the 102 cities, after Minneapolis’ 601. That may surprise some locals, since the common wisdom is that the Mile High City is home to fewer large company headquarters than other cities its size.

Nevertheless, “the region is among the top 20 in six of the seven metrics that measure concentration of companies,” MarketWatch’s Russ Britt writes.

But MarketWatch downgrades Denver on personal income and in change in employment. “Its jobless rate rose half a percentage point” from last year, Britt says.

Denver ranked seventh in MarketWatch’s 2009 best-cities-for-business ranking, third in 2008 and second in 2007.

Denver has done well recently in business, economic and career rankings. In November, career search engine rated it the ninth-best city for job seekers. In October, the Index placed Denver ninth as a place to find a managerial position. Businessweek in July called Denver the nation’s eighth-best city for college grads to find work. And Forbes in June ranked Denver America’s eighth-best city for young professionals.

MarketWatch ranks Colorado Springs No. 54 overall, with a total score of 715, a company score of 312 and an economic score of 403.

The top city is Washington, D.C., with a total score of 1100, a company score of 585 and an economic score of 515.

“Washington has made the most out of having the U.S. government, a very large customer for any company, to keep it chugging during the tough times,” Britt writes. “But the region also has seen massive expansion in suburban towns in Virginia and Maryland over the years that has boosted its economy.”

Rounding out the top 10 after Washington are Omaha, Neb.; Boston; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis; Denver; Richmond, Va.; New York; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Seattle.

Fresno, Calif. is at the bottom of the list at No. 102.

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