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Colorado is the main manufacturing center of the Rocky Mountain states; value of shipments by manufacturers in 1997 was $42 billion, growing by a five-year total of 43% since 1992. The major sectors for value of shipments by manufacturers were food, printing and publishing, industrial machinery and equipment, and electronic equipment. Mineral shipments amounted to $3.5 billion, growing at only 4.8% since 1992, while the construction business pulled in over $19 billion, with the 3rd-largest growth rate in the country for that field (78.6%). The construction sector was expected to cool in 2000.

High-technology research and manufacturing grew substantially in Colorado during the 1980s and 1990s. Advanced technology exports were 61% of all exports in 2000. Storage Technology in Louisville is the largest high-tech company with headquarters in the state, but many large out-of-state companies—including Apple Computer, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Eastman Kodak, Digital Equipment, Ball Aerospace, Martin-Lockheed Corporation, MCI Telecommunications, TCI Cable, and Cobe Laboratories—have divisions there. There are three Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Colorado: US West, Tele-Communications, and Cyprus Amax Minerals.

Earnings of persons employed in Colorado increased from $81.8 billion in 1997 to $90.2 billion in 1998, an increase of 10.3%. The largest industries in 1998 were services, 29.3% of earnings; state and local government, 10.2%; and retail trade, 9.8%. Of the industries that accounted for at least 5% of earnings in 1998, the slowest growing from 1997 to 1998 was state and local government, which increased 5.7%; the fastest was wholesale trade (6.1% of earnings in 1998), which increased 11.2%.