Reported GDP in 2009: $16.2 billion
Reported GDP today: $17.6 billion
Population change 2000-10: 5.8%
The University of Colorado gets all the credit for keeping jobs around but, like Austin, Boulder's hippie roots and artistic bent do a nice job of keeping the foot traffic moving and keeping the place just a little quirky. This helps spice up the job mix a bit by placing ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Celestial Seasonings tea and plastic sandal maker Crocs ( CROX) to the list of employers, but the area still relies heavily on scientific institutions such as the Center For Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Space Science Institute, as well as straitlaced companies including IBM ( LMT), Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace & Technologies to keep the party going.