The defense sector, including military and veterans-related activity, was responsible for 247,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in total economic output in Colorado in 2017, a significantly greater impact on the state than previously believed, according to a recent study. A 2015 study found that the military was responsible for 170,000 jobs and $27 billion in total economic output in the state. The updated study also shows that the defense sector is responsible for 7.3 percent of state tax revenue, up from 5.5 percent. The higher results reflect the expanded scope of the new report, which added impacts from Veterans Affairs Department expenditures, veterans and military retirees, and the chemical weapons demilitarization mission at Pueblo Chemical Depot.
The new study — sponsored by the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Military Affairs Council, Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Defense Council, and PuebloPlex — also revealed that military and veterans-related activity is more broadly distributed throughout the state than previously known. To be sure, DOD’s impact remains concentrated in Colorado’s Front Range, home to eight major installations. But many smaller counties throughout the state that recorded fewer than 100 jobs related to the defense sector in 2015 now have between 100 and 500 jobs, with that figure exceeding 500 in several counties, due to the addition of VA and veterans activity.
Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee