NWCCOG's economy has transformed over time from a combination of mining and agriculture in its early history (1800’s) to tourism and outdoor recreation today. The Infrastructure engineering industry, with construction being a large sub-sector of that, is a key industry in the region as well as the region is very desirable for second homes. 

While tourism will continue to be a primary economic driver, there is momentum underway shifting the regional economy towards the knowledge and creative economy in efforts to create jobs and activities related to technology, research, design, and entrepreneurialism.  Tourism and ourdoor recreation will continue to be a mainstay, however emerging industries such as health and wellness, creative industries, and technology and information are on the horizon.
The quality of life, the mix of local businesses, a skilled work force, a beautiful natural setting, and the international name recognition provided by world-class ski resorts are invaluable underpinnings unique to the region’s economy. A stable, well educated workforce is critical to a knowledge/information economy, and the region should promote the creation of advanced learning and skill development programs and institutions. Safe neighborhoods and affordable, high-quality childcare, transportation, and housing are all considered necessary infrastructure to positive economic development, and should therefore be available in all communities.   Finally, the environment is an extremely vital part of the region’s economy, and as such all economic development should be done in a manner that protects the integrity of the region’s natural resources and scenic beauty.


The region has a healthy median household income and per capita income relative to the state and the nation.  This is not characteristic, however, of a region such as Region 12 that has most of its jobs based in low-paying service sector industries tied to tourism (i.e. the biggest industry sector in Region 12 is Accommodations and Food Service.)   This relatively high MHH and PCI can be explained when looking at where that income is coming from.  To illustrate:  Of the personal income of the region in 2008, 66.1% was from earnings, 2.1% was from retirement and disability, a very low 1.1% from Medicare, Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits, and a relatively high 29.7% from dividends, interest and rent.  Thus, almost 30% of personal income is derived from non-earned income.

Small Businesses

Small Businesses are the backbone of NWCCOG's regional economy.  The vast majority of the region's businesses (78%) have under 10 employees.
County # of Businesses # of Businesses w/
Under 10 employees
% Small Businesses
(Under 10 employees)
Eagle 4,103 3,128 76%
Grand 1,423 1,183 83%
Jackson 137 118 86%
Pitkin 2,547 1,958 77%
Summit 2,820 2,223 78%
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  • US Census Bureau
  • Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (LMI Gateway(
  • Colorado School District Cost of Living Study