Greeley, Colorado was founded as an agricultural colony in northern Colorado, but since it was established in 1869, the area has evolved to include energy development, oil and gas production, education and healthcare.
Located 60 miles from Denver within the Mountain-Plains region of Weld County, Greeley is a rising star. While Colorado holds court as the seventh-fastest growing state, welcoming nearly 80,000 people from July 2017 to July 2018, Greeley had a net migration of 41,180 people between 2010 and 2018. This increase has established Greeley as one of the top U.S. cities for population growth.
Job Outlook: Bright
Dubbed “the garden city of the west,” Greeley is best known for agriculture and about 30 percent of the labor force works within this industry. With an unemployment rate of 2.2 percent as of August 2019, the city ranks among the best in terms of job outlook. The industries with the highest employment numbers are Trade, Transportation and Utilities, Leisure and Hospitality and Manufacturing.
Some of the area’s largest employers include:
• University of Northern Colorado
• Banner Health
• State Farm Insurance
• City of Greeley
• Anadarko Petroleum
• Noble Energy
• J.M. Smucker
Across Colorado, the minimum wage is now set at $11.10 per hour for 2019, an increase from $10.20 for the previous year. While wages in Greeley have risen moderately across all occupations to hover at 1.5 percent, they still remain some of the lowest in the state. As of December 2018, average weekly wages in Weld County were $1,014, which are below the average U.S. wages of $1,144, and far below the $1,414 for average weekly wages in Denver.
Despite the smaller paychecks, income is relative. Affordability is one of the largest drivers for relocation to Greeley, and in year’s past, the city as earned a coveted spot on the Forbes “Best Places for Business and Careers” list. Within Greely, some of the highest-paid occupations, as compared to the U.S. average, are within the industrial, retail and security industries.
As U.S. home values rose by 4.9 percent over the last year to now command a median square foot price of $155, affordability is a key issue for first-time and seasoned home buyers. Within Colorado and the U.S., Greeley has been named the 8th Best Small Real Estate Market for 2019 and the 20th Best City Overall (besting Denver, Nashville and Seattle) based on housing affordability and economic environment. This ranking compared 300 cities across the nation.
In addition, Greeley has been named to several “most affordable places to live” lists, with the cost of living ranked far below other areas in Colorado.
Happy in Greeley
The happy factor is a persuasive driver for professionals in terms of job longevity and Greeley has plenty to offer. Greeley has been named one of the Happiest Cities in America, based job satisfaction, low crime rates and affordability.
For those who crave scenery and outdoor adventure, Greeley delivers. Nature seekers will appreciate the 21-mile Poudre River Trail, St. Vrain State Park and the Pawnee National Grassland. Greeley may live in the shadow of other star Colorado cities like Boulder and Denver, but the area consistently ranks as one of the best in terms of jobs, housing and lifestyle.