Colorado Springs fell to the middle of the pack in annual rankings by a California think tank of the ability of cities to create and sustain jobs.
The Springs ranked 96th in the rankings released last month, down from 71st in 2005, the last year the rankings had been produced by the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit economic think tank created by financier Michael Milken.
The city has ranked as high as 10th in 2000, but has declined every year but 2005 in rankings of the nation’s 200 largest metropolitan areas. That’s mostly because city’s weak job growth during the past five years, which included declines in 2002 and 2003. “This is not a surprise as the data looks back from one to six years and includes our recession years where our tech sector was hit hard,” said Mike Kazmierski, president of the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., which helps attract industry to the city. Three Florida cities — Ocala, Orlando and Naples, ranked among the top six in the institute’s latest ranking, which was sponsored by Greenstreet Real Estate Partners. The rankings this year reflect the year the data is released; in past years they reflected the year the data was collected. Among other Colorado cities, Greeley ranked 29th, up from 31st in 2005; Fort Collins ranked 75th, down from 46th; Boulder ranked 93rd, down from 92nd; Denver ranked 106th, down from 105th. Among 179 smaller metro areas, Grand Junction ranked 18th, up from 37th, and Pueblo ranked 130th, unchanged. For more information, go to http://www.milkeninstitute.org/