Fort Collins was founded as a United States Army outpost in 1864 and is located 56 miles north of Denver. Sitting on the Cache La Poudre River along the Colorado Front Range, it is the fourth most populous city in Colorado and is home to Colorado State University and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), the fourth most visited national park in the United States. Because of these economic factors, government and the leisure and hospitality sectors are the largest and third largest payroll sectors.
Fort Collins had strong economic growth after the most recent down¬turn caused by the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009. An increase of 700 jobs, or 4.8 percent, annually in the education and health services sector led growth. The Medical Center of the Rockies, now part of University of Colorado Health, opened in Love land in 2007 with nearly 700 employees.
During the next 3 years, non farm payrolls are expected to increase by 4,700 jobs, or 2.8 percent, annually. Job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector is expected to slow during the 3-year forecast period as growth in RMNP tourism moderates from the 2014-to-current period. Continued commercial projects and apartment construction are expected to contribute to strong growth in construction employment, and other service-providing sectors are expected to increase to support the growing population.