Douglas County hits No. 20 on CNN Money list

One of two Colorado counties lauded for job growth

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With an unemployment rate down to 5.8 percent, companies moving in at an unprecedented level, weekly wages higher than anywhere else in Colorado, and Sterling Ranch in the on-deck circle, it should come as no surprise that Douglas County cracked CNN Money’s Top 25 list for “where the jobs are” this past week.

Ranking counties for job growth between the years of 2010 and 2012, Douglas County came in at No. 20 on the list, boasting a 9.1 percent uptick in growth over the three-year time period. Broomfield County, the only other Colorado county on the list, came in at No. 15, having demonstrated a 9.7 percent growth in jobs.

The list, published Aug. 12, praised Douglas County for “building up businesses and building out homes,” while mentioning new arrivals such as TriZetto, Visa and Redwood Trust as well as the recently-approved Sterling Ranch development for creating hundreds of jobs each across a wide spectrum of trades.

A lot of those specific jobs haven’t even arrived in the county yet, something Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella has been quick to point out. That may represent further proof that many of the existing companies in the county have been able to increase their number of employees, while construction jobs have poured in as well.

Other recent arrivals such as Hitachi in Inverness, Cabela’s and Charles Schwab in Lone Tree and new hospitals in Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch have also contributed to the economy, bringing in temporary construction jobs and thousands of new positions around the county.  

While the new hospitals relate directly to the continued growth of the county, Repella recently said the way in which the county altered how it did business once the recession hit is a driving factor in why the county is doing so well economically.

“Four years ago, we knew we were facing a very, very different time in the history of Douglas County,” she said. “We had to change how we interacted with the business community and really create a very business friendly culture.”

The result, she said, has created an “upward spiral” that has continuously helped land large corporations as word has spread on how the county bends over backward to speed up the permit process and listens to the needs and desires of interested businesses.

Earlier this month CNN Money also recognized the Douglas County town of Parker when it named it the No. 12 “best place to live,” while ranking the top 50 towns with populations of less than 50,000. In 2012, when communities of 50,000 to 100,000 were measured, Castle Rock came in at No. 17 and Highlands Ranch at No. 21.

Leading the 2013 list for job growth was Columbia County, Ga., boasting a 14 percent increase in jobs from 2010-12. Columbia was one of two Georgia counties on the list, with Gwinnett placing ninth. Joining Colorado and Georgia with two counties in the Top 25 were Texas, Virginia, Florida, Utah, Alabama and Tennessee.

To view the complete list, please visit www.money.cnn.com.