Primary Employers Working with Local Agencies to Protect Northern Colorado Economic Health

Note to Editors: The full primary employer report is available at

Primary employers in northern Colorado met with key economic development leaders this week to talk about working together to protect the region’s economic health in the event of a national economic downturn.

At the meeting, hosted by the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., Larimer County primary employers shared vital information about issues affecting their companies and factors that actually influence their decision-making process.

NCEDC also shared a report, written by regional economist Martin Shields, on the impact of primary employment in the northern Colorado. Primary employers, defined as those companies who export at least 50 percent of their goods and services outside of the region, are an important economic driver to bring new dollars back into the region in payroll, purchasing local services and taxes.

Employers who attended the meeting shared the factors they consider when staying in the region versus those that force them to leave, expand or consider other locations nationally or internationally. Attendees were also given information about the economic impact primary employers make on the region and the negative consequences if any were to choose to downsize or leave the area.

The meeting was held in the First National Bank Building at the Ranch, included elected officials from Larimer County municipalities, top administrators and primary employers.

Maury Dobbie, President/CEO of NCEDC, said, "We received positive feedback from participants appreciating the fact that we all need to collaboratively focus on our existing employers. As we feel the hard economic times, more than ever we need to work together on behalf of our region’s citizens and businesses."

Key results in Shields’ primary employers report:

-In 2006, Larimer County primary employment totaled 43,204 jobs which represented 34 percent of the total employment in the county.

-Primary employment is down 504 jobs since 2001, even with 103 jobs gained in 2005 & 2006.

-Average earnings per worker for primary jobs in 2006 in Larimer County were $53,652.

-The overall county average wage in 2006 was $37, 938 per worker. Primary employers tend to be larger on average than non-primary firms.

-In 2006, the average primary employer had 17 employees compared with 11 for non-primary.

-Since 2004, NCEDC has assisted with primary employment projects providing 1,800 direct jobs.  These jobs provide an average salary of $70,893 per year. Through spin-off activities, an additional 3,417 jobs were supported.

Colorado State University is Northern Colorado’s largest primary employer. "With nearly $300 million in annual research expenditures, CSU’s presence in northern Colorado will be particularly important in 2008 as the national economy possibly heads into recession," Shields said. "The university’s technology spinoffs – and its importance as a regional employer – can help dampen any downturn."

The regional economist position is a unique partnership between NCEDC and Colorado State University’s Office of Economic Development.

"The information, reports and analysis of regional issues provided by Dr. Shields is important data to help all of us in Northern Colorado make better decisions. We are able to base our decisions more on facts and less on opinion," Dobbie said.