Affordable Living in America's Banana Belt: Pueblo, Colorado
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:
- EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel North America, formerly CF&I Steel Mill: Manufacturing and Metal Recycling (active today).
- Harsco: Metals and Minerals
- Vestas Wind Turbine Manufacturing
- UTC Aerospace Systems
- Beacon Roofing Supply
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).
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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:
- AMAZON Digital Services, AMAZON Services, and AMAZON.COM
- Commercial Air and Electric Company
- GBS Construction Management
- Laboratory Corporation of America
- Legacy Frontline Homes, LLC
- Parkview Vascular Center
Top Companies Advertising Jobs
One of the major employers in Pueblo, Colorado.
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:
- Parkview Medical Center, with nearly 3,000 employees in early 2017: 400 West 16th Street, Pueblo CO 81003.
- Pueblo City Schools District 70: 24951 Hwy 50 East, Pueblo CO 81006.
- St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center: 008 Minnequa Ave # 6100, Pueblo CO 81004.
- 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.
- Evraz Steel Mills: 2100 N Fwy Rd, Pueblo, CO 81004, Pueblo, CO 81004.
- Loaf N Jug Convenience Stores: Several stores around the city.
- Trane Company: 101 William White Blvd, Pueblo CO 81001.
- Convergys: 1228 E Orman Ave, Pueblo CO 81004.
- Rocky Mountain Steel: 2100 N Fwy Rd, Pueblo, CO 81004, Pueblo CO 81004.
- Walmart: Three locations of superstores around the city.
Location of Most-Advertised Jobs
Companies that are consistently hiring in high demand jobs:
- Schneider National - trucking
- Centura Health
- Parkview Medical Center
- Raytheon Polar Services
- St. Mary Corwin Medical Center
- Ryder: Trucking
- Smith Transport: Trucking
- Travel Nurses: PPRTravelNursing, Interim HealthCare
- JB Hunt Transport: Trucking
- Retail stores on the Riverwalk and WalMart
The most frequently advertised jobs include the following:
- Registered Nurses with RN License; Travel Nurses
- Truck Drivers - Owner Operators and Company Drivers
- Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators
- Computer Technicians
- Retail and Office Supervisors
- Environmental Engineers
- Marketing Managers
- 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.
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
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.
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
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.
© 2012 Patty Inglish