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Affordable Living in America's Banana Belt: Pueblo, Colorado

Updated on February 21, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is an award-winning Employment & Training pro with regional records and tens of thousands placed into gainful employment.

Pueblo Downtown Riverwalk Historic and Business District at night.
Pueblo Downtown Riverwalk Historic and Business District at night. | Source

Low Cost of Living and Increasing Jobs

During several decades, many of my workforce clients and one relative relocated to the Pueblo area for its climate and good job opportunities. Many followed up to say that the climate was warmer in and around Pueblo than in other areas of the state, with at lest 300 days of sunshine each year. This fact makes the area a "banana belt" - comfortably warm, although unable to support banana growth. Residents love it!

My Aunt Mildred moved to the Colorado Springs - Pueblo Area in the 1920s, enjoying the climate until her death in 1979. During and after The Great Depression, she saw the economy of this "Pittsburgh of the West", as she called it, grow with new businesses. Growth was spearheaded by resurgence of the steel industry. Workforce clients have informed me from 1995 - 2016 that they have found high paying jobs with benefits long-term in this Colorado area, including within steel manufacturing plants listed below:

  1. EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel North America, formerly CF&I Steel Mill: Manufacturing and Metal Recycling (active today).
  2. Harsco: Metals and Minerals
  3. Vestas Wind Turbine Manufacturing
  4. UTC Aerospace Systems
  5. Beacon Roofing Supply

Click thumbnail to view full-size
CF & I Steel Mill in the 1930s.CF & I Steel Mill today.
CF & I Steel Mill in the 1930s.
CF & I Steel Mill in the 1930s. | Source
CF & I Steel Mill today.
CF & I Steel Mill today. | Source

Pueblo, with a cost of living 14% below the national average, is the Second Cheapest Place to Live in America, according to the analysts at Kiplinger Magazine. It is also the 93rd Best Small Place for Jobs and Business in the US according to Forbes.com during 2016.

Out of approximately 6,000+ job vacancies posted across the internet for the Pueblo - Colorado Springs Area, 40% advertise wages at over $30,000 annually. Open positions were found via my analysis of listings on Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, Craigslist, Chamber of Commerce news, and local newspaper want ads. According to Forbes analysts in 2016, the median annual household income is over $42,000.

The US Department of Labor and Colorado state government job report growth in technologies, steel manufacturing, and alternate energies like wind turbine manufacturing. CNBC reports the metro area as a good place to start new businesses (Reference: www.cnbc.com/2016/07/12/americas-top-states-for-business-2016-the-list-and-ranking.html Retrieved February 10, 2017).

Sources:

  • Interviews with workforce clients under my supervision 1995 - 2016.
  • Pueblo County WIA information: 530 Communications Loop; Colorado Springs CO 80905; 1675 Garden of the Gods Road; Colorado Springs CO 80907; and Pueblo Workforce Center at 212 W 3rd St. Pueblo CO 81003. Email address: cdle_pueblo_wfc@state.co.us
  • Pueblo Chamber of Commerce: www.pueblochamber.org/ Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  • The Pueblo Chieftan want ads, 2015 - 2017.

Best Hiring Companies

New, large companies moving into Pueblo in 2017 include:

  • Big R: The second of these farm and rural lifestyle stores in under construction.
  • Candlewood Suites Hotel
  • Department of Transportation Regional Headquarters
  • Sportsman's Warehouse
  • Tractor Supply
  • Vesta Towers America Inc., expansion: Largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, with number of delivers in 2016 up at least 29% over 2015. City leaders have promised to make Pueblo 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2035, according to City Hall and the local Chamber of Commerce. The US Department of Labor states that the job of wind turbine technician will be the best growth position in America through 2024.

In 2017, the planned community annexation called Pueblo Springs Ranch will bring with several, additional dwellings, services, retail stores, and dining businesses that need workers.

Record-high full-year order intake at 10.5 Gigawatt, 33 countries, 6 continents; demonstrating once again the power of #Vestas’ #globalreach

— Vesta Wind Systems on Twitter, Feb 8, 2017

New businesses finding success in Pueblo in 2016, according to the government website at pueblo.us/186/New-Business-Lists include these major companies among others:

  1. AMAZON Digital Services, AMAZON Services, and AMAZON.COM
  2. Commercial Air and Electric Company
  3. GBS Construction Management
  4. Laboratory Corporation of America
  5. Legacy Frontline Homes, LLC
  6. Parkview Vascular Center

Top Companies Advertising Jobs

show route and directions
A markerSt. Mary Corwin Regional Medical Center -
St Mary-Corwin Regional Medical Center, 1008 Minnequa Ave # 6100, Pueblo, CO 81004-3733, USA
get directions

One of the major employers in Pueblo, Colorado.

B markerPueblo City Schools District 70: 24951 Hwy 50 East • Pueblo, CO 81006. -
24951 US-50 BUS, Pueblo, CO 81006, USA
get directions

C markerParkview Medical Center -
400 W 16th St, Pueblo, CO 81003, USA
get directions

D markerColorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo -
1600 W 24th St, Pueblo, CO 81003, USA
get directions

E markerSchneider National -
32251 E United Ave, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA
get directions

F markerCentura Health -
9100 E Mineral Cir, Centennial, CO 80112, USA
get directions

Top 10 Largest Companies

The following companies maintain the consistently largest employee groups, confirmed by information I have gathered from 2000 - 2017 from my work with Workforce Investment Act clients offices; added to US Census figures of 2010 through 2015:

  1. Parkview Medical Center, with nearly 3,000 employees in early 2017: 400 West 16th Street, Pueblo CO 81003.
  2. Pueblo City Schools District 70: 24951 Hwy 50 East, Pueblo CO 81006.
  3. St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center: 008 Minnequa Ave # 6100, Pueblo CO 81004.
  4. Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, formerly the Colorado State Hospital and previously the Colorado State Insane Asylum. These are government jobs. Located at 1600 W 24th St, Pueblo CO 81003.
  5. Evraz Steel Mills: 2100 N Fwy Rd, Pueblo, CO 81004, Pueblo, CO 81004.
  6. Loaf N Jug Convenience Stores: Several stores around the city.
  7. Trane Company: 101 William White Blvd, Pueblo CO 81001.
  8. Convergys: 1228 E Orman Ave, Pueblo CO 81004.
  9. Rocky Mountain Steel: 2100 N Fwy Rd, Pueblo, CO 81004, Pueblo CO 81004.
  10. Walmart: Three locations of superstores around the city.

Location of Most-Advertised Jobs

Companies that are consistently hiring in high demand jobs:

  1. Schneider National - trucking
  2. Centura Health
  3. Parkview Medical Center
  4. Raytheon Polar Services
  5. St. Mary Corwin Medical Center
  6. Ryder: Trucking
  7. Smith Transport: Trucking
  8. Travel Nurses: PPRTravelNursing, Interim HealthCare
  9. JB Hunt Transport: Trucking
  10. Retail stores on the Riverwalk and WalMart

The most frequently advertised jobs include the following:

  1. Registered Nurses with RN License; Travel Nurses
  2. Truck Drivers - Owner Operators and Company Drivers
  3. Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists
  4. Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  5. Computer Technicians
  6. Retail and Office Supervisors
  7. Environmental Engineers
  8. Marketing Managers
  9. Sales Representatives

Reasonable Housing Costs

Based on data I gathered from Zillow, Trulia, and Colorado Springs - Pueblo newspaper listings between January and Mid-February 2017, I find the median single-family home price in Pueblo as $69,000 among the 670 to 700 homes listed for sale. A number of foreclosed homes are also for sale or auction.

The price range I found for single-family dwelling places, including houses, condominiums, townhouses, and manufactured homes spans $8,000 to $249,000. This does not included the non-advertised foreclosed dwellings.

The above information is is more recent than that on Sperling's Best Places, which lists median price as $132,300.

show route and directions
A markerPueblo CO -
Pueblo, CO, USA
get directions

B markerColorado Springs CO -
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
get directions

C markerDenver CO -
Denver, CO, USA
get directions

D markerDenver CO -
Denver, CO, USA
get directions

E markerFort Collins CO -
Fort Collins, CO, USA
get directions

Colorado's population and best housing are largely centered on highway Interstate-25 that cuts through the center of the state from north to south.

Pueblo, the 10th largest city in the state, is at the southern end of these largest population centers that sit along the Front Range Mountains of the Rockies.

The local metropolitan area includes Pueblo, Pueblo West, Pueblo Springs Ranch (annexed in 2017), Pueblo Army Depot, Pueblo Chemical Depot, Avondale, Beulah Valley, Boone, Colorado City, Devine, Salt Creek, and Vineland.

Planned Community: Pueblo Springs Ranch

A markerPueblo Springs Ranch -
1020 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA
get directions

The planned community is increasing Pueblo jobs by opening new living spaces, new businesses, and new customer services over an area covering at least 9,000 acres near major highways and larger retail centers.

Housing Options

1) Purchase or Rent: Zillow.com and Trulia.com

2) Purchase for residential and business near downtown: pueblospringsranch.com

2) Rentals: rentals.com/Colorado/Pueblo/

3) Senior Citizen Options: seniorsresourceguide.com/Pueblo

Riverwalk Business, Creative and Living Corridor

show route and directions
A markerPueblo Community College -
900 W Orman Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004, USA
get directions

B markerProfessional Bull Riders Training -
101 E Riverwalk, Pueblo, CO 81003, USA
get directions

C markerBella Santi Luxury Apartments -
2, 101 N Main St, Pueblo, CO 81003, USA
get directions

D markerLoaf 'N' Jug Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival. -
302 N Santa Fe Ave, Pueblo, CO 81003, USA
get directions

The historic downtown and riverwalk area features many preserved buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. They operate as businesses among newer retail, dining, and residential places.

The area is famous for Mirasol green chile pepper production, boosted by 2016 business grant to expand employment and revenues. A large and growing Chile & Frijoles Festival. is held annually to celebrate the business and Mexican inspired cuisine.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
For of the Arkansas Riverwalk Mural in Pueblo, total length three miles or more.
For of the Arkansas Riverwalk Mural in Pueblo, total length three miles or more.
For of the Arkansas Riverwalk Mural in Pueblo, total length three miles or more. | Source
Source

© 2012 Patty Inglish

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Garden of the Gods, that's right! Beer cans? How gauche.

      Rap - no. LOL

    • gconeyhiden profile image

      gconeyhiden 5 years ago from Brooklyn, N.Y.C. U.S.A

      wow you even help people find a nice place to live. I toured this area once..I cleaned up beautiful spot in garden of the Gods..do i have the name right? kids? left like 30 beer cans in the garden and i was horrified. I may have to move back to the states so i appreciate these kinds of tips. I bet you can even rap.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Now that's a good eye-witness testimony for Pueblo!

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      I have two grandchildren that were born in Pueblo. I loved visiting in the winter because it was much warmer than Wyoming.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Thanks for reading - some of these are helping people find jobs!

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Patty, a micro-climate in that area sounds grand. Thanks for all your research!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Interesting and extremely helpful piece for anyone thinking of getting a fresh start. Up and useful, interesting and awesome too!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      When I saw this, I had to read. I grew up 40 minutes from there - in Colorado Springs. It's an up and coming area. I think if I lived there, I'd live in "Pueblo West" - they say it's prettier than Pueblo itself. But, it's making me homesick to see such familiar landmarks and pictures in print. :)

    • jeyaramd profile image

      jeyaramd 5 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      That's an awesome combination. High income and a low cost of living. Thank you for sharing this informative hub about living in America's Banana Belt. We have something here in Canada called the green belt to preserve green space. Thanks for sharing this information. I am planning on settling down in the US. This will be helpful. Great hub. Voted up.