Boulder area No. 15 on performance index

BOULDER – The Boulder area was among the metropolitan areas with the best economic performance over the past year, according to a survey of economic growth released Thursday by a think tank.

According to the Santa Monica, California-based Milken Institute, Boulder County ranked 15 on its annual Best-Performing Cities index. The index factors in job and salary growth over the past year and five years and the success of an area’s technology sector.

Boulder and the rest of Boulder County jumped up from 59th in last year’s ranking, mostly because of the growth of area high-tech industries, which are weighed heavily in the measure.

Nearly 18 percent of jobs in the area stem from a high-tech industry, the Milken report said. By its measure, high-tech companies are three times more important to Boulder’s economy than they are to the nation as a whole, and it has the second-most diversity among local high-tech companies in the nation.

The report noted that when times are good, a high concentration of growing tech companies means the addition of high-paying jobs, but an over-reliance on tech could make the region vulnerable if demand for products decreases.

The Best-Performing Cities index includes measures of job, wage and technology performance to rank the nation’s 200 large metropolitan areas and 179 smaller metros, according to an accompanying press release.

The Fort Collins-Loveland area did better than Boulder, placing 12th, which was down from third last year. The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area ranked 30th, up from 44th in 2011.

San Jose, California and the rest of Silicon Valley topped the list.

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