Mesa County ranks among the upper third of small metropolitan areas in the United States in the latest annual listing of best places for business and careers.
The Grand Junction metropolitan statistical area, which is defined as Mesa County, placed 63rd among the best small places for businesses and careers in an annual listing compiled for Forbes magazine.
Forbes separately ranks the 200 largest and 200 smallest metro areas, taking into account a total of 12 metrics related to job and income growth, projected economic growth, the cost of doing business, educational attainment, net migration patterns and cultural and recreational opportunities.
Mesa County ranked highest in the latest evaluation at 53rd for educational rank. Mesa County ranked 94th for cost of business and 162nd for job growth.
Pueblo ranked near the middle of small metro areas at 104th. The Villages in Florida topped the list of the best small areas for business and careers, followed by Lafayette, Ind.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Bend, Ore.; and Lawrence, Kan.
Among large metro areas, Denver moved up three spots to rank No. 1 for the first time. Denver ranked 16th for job growth, 20th for educational rank and 116th for cost of business. Denver was cited for its diverse economy, educated labor force and outdoor recreational opportunities.
Four other Colorado cities also ranked among the top 40 large metro areas: Fort Collins at 10th, Boulder at 26th, Greeley at 33rd and Colorado Springs at 37th. Boulder ranked first among the large metro for educational attainment. Greeley ranked first for job growth.
Raleigh, N.C., slipped a spot to second among large metro areas, followed by Portland; Provo, Utah; and Atlanta.