Once again, Boulder is coming out on top of another list.
Forbes magazine recently named Boulder one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. likely to rebound from the recession. CU was named one of the contributing factors in this ranking.
According to Forbes, the city of Boulder’s current GDP is $15.6 billion and projected to grow to $16.3 billion by the end of 2010.
Citizens of Boulder said that while this increase is possible, it might not be easy.
“The key thing is Boulder has a number of economic engines that stabilize it,” said Frances Draper, the executive director of the Boulder Economic Council. “I believe Boulder is placed to be one of the earlier cities out of the recession, but we still have our challenges.”
Such engines include IBM, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and many highly technological laboratories such as the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
In addition to these engines, Draper said CU plays an important role in anchoring Boulder to a strong economy.
Even though CU is facing cutbacks, the student impact on the city is hard to ignore.
According to Draper, in 2007, $272 million in the Boulder market came from students and $57 million came from people visiting the students.
Susan Stafford, director of Off-Campus Student Services, says she also sees the positive effects the students have on the Boulder markets.
“Students play a very strong role; the rental market is approximately 56 percent (CU student rentals),” Stafford said. “Students are responsible for not only bringing rental dollars, but bring dollars into the community. They are patrons at Pearl Street, the 29th Street Mall, and the Hill and that helps with the recovery.”
Stafford said that even though vacancy rates have increased in Boulder, the off-campus student population has not decreased this semester. The consistency from the students has helped stabilize the rental market.
Among the many high technology labs in Boulder include the campus-based Center for Integrated Research and Environmental Science and JILA. These labs, which are jointly paid by the labs and the university, help the economy by generating new research in science.
CU also provides a large amount of employment, Draper said, with more than 12,000 employees. Most recently, CU is providing jobs for its current construction projects.
Boulder’s unemployment rate stands only at 5.7 percent, according to Forbes, which is lower than both the rates of the state and the nation, which stand at 7.3 and 9.7 respectively.
Shane Nia, a 19-year-old sophomore environmental science major, agrees with the Forbes list and believes Boulder’s demographics play a role in the anticipated rebound.
“Boulder is made up of people from mostly middle to upper class, making it easier for Boulder than a city like Aurora to bounce back,” Nia said.
While the recession is still present in Boulder, the positive projected future economic growth encourages hope in the students throughout campus.
“I think it’s a great achievement and shows we are making our way back up,” said Katie Heitner, an 18-year old classics major. “It’s good that we are making progress.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Rose Heaphy at Josephine.firstname.lastname@example.org.