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From Site Selection magazine, July 2024

Places for Fresh Beginnings

The sense of adventure conjured by the mere thought of the Rocky Mountains has real traction in the world of business.

by Adam Bruns

mong the missions of the Kansas City–based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is the study of the entrepreneurial economy, including the Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship database, which tracks job share, earnings, job creation and job constancy at firms less than one year old. Track the share of private-sector jobs held at such firms by state based on the organization’s 2022 report and up pop the Rocky Mountain states, falling in a nice, neat line among such entrepreneurial magnets as California, Florida and Texas. Here are the top 10 by share of private-sector jobs at firms aged 0-1 year:

Entrepreneurial Job Share

Rocky Mountain states’ leadership extends to entrepreneurial job creation too, measured as the number of net new jobs created at startups per 1,000 people:

Job Creation Per 1K People

In the compensation arena, the only Rocky Mountain state to make the top 10 is No. 7 Colorado, whose relative earnings at young firms are 72.27% of average earnings at firms of all ages across the nation. Finally, in terms of share of jobs at young firms that last three or more quarters, Utah is the only Rocky Mountain state to make the top 10 at 55.37%.

The Kauffman tool (found at also allows sorting by metro area. The highest-ranked Rocky Mountain metro by compensation is the wealthy area of Jackson, Wyoming-Idaho, No. 17 in the nation at 117.64% of average earnings at all U.S. firms.

Among the areas in Rocky Mountain states that are national leaders in job share contribution is Montrose, Colorado, at 7.23%, good for No. 6 in the nation.

In terms of number of net new jobs at young firms per 1,000 people, a number of Rocky Mountain communities show up in the top 10: Breckenridge, Colorado, at No. 3 (13.65 jobs); Bozeman, Montana, at No. 5 (11.48 jobs; St. George, Utah, at No. 7 (11.15 jobs); and Glenwood Springs and Montrose, Colorado, tied at No. 9 (9.66 jobs).

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located near Montrose, Colorado,
No. 6 in the nation in terms of job share contribution from startup firms.

Photo by John Webb: Getty Images

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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