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FACT SHEET: Colorado Small Business and Jobs Supported by Exports

Small businesses that export grow faster, add jobs faster and pay higher wages than small businesses in the same sector that serve purely domestic markets.  Today, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman toured Epic Brewery in Denver, Colorado, one of approximately 4,900 Colorado small businesses supporting jobs in the state by selling to customers around the world. Epic Brewery has a production facility in Denver and makes over 40 different types of craft beers. 

The company began exporting in 2013, and currently sells their beers to Japan, Brazil, Singapore, and Sweden. Next year they expect to double the amount of beer that they’re exporting to the world, and then double their exports again in 2015. Epic Brewing Company has 120 employees across Utah and Colorado.

Exports Support Jobs for American Workers

  • In 2013, Colorado sold a record-breaking $8.7 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world – an increase of 43 percent, or $2.6 billion, from its export level 2003. 
  • Total exports from Colorado helped contribute to the record-setting value of U.S. goods and services exports in 2013, which reached $2.3 trillion.
  • Nationally, jobs supported by exports reached more than 11 million in 2013, up 1.6 million since 2009.
  • Every billion dollars of U.S. exports of goods supported an estimated 5,400 jobs in 2013. 
  • Jobs supported by goods exports pay an estimated 13% to 18% above the national average.
  • In 2011 (latest year available), nearly one-quarter (24.0 percent) of all manufacturing workers in Colorado depended on exports for their jobs.

Exports Sustain Thousands of Colorado Businesses

  • A total of 5,580 companies exported from Colorado locations in 2012. Of those, 4,900 (87.8 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated nearly one-third (31.8 percent) of Colorado's total exports of merchandise in 2012.

Colorado Depends on World Markets

  • Colorado's export shipments of merchandise in 2013 totaled $8.5 billion.
  • The state's largest market was Canada. Colorado posted merchandise exports of $2.1 billion to Canada in 2013, representing 24.1 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports.
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($918 million), China ($659 million), Japan ($442 million), and Korea ($341 million).
  • The state's largest merchandise export category is Computer & Electronic Products, which accounted for $2.1 billion of Colorado's total merchandise exports in 2013.
  • Other top merchandise exports are Food & Kindred Products ($1.4 billion), Machinery, Except Electrical ($1.2 billion), Chemicals ($790 million), and Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities ($545 million).
  • Colorado shipped $2.0 billion in agricultural exports abroad in 2012 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).  It is the 5th largest state exporter of beef ($297 million), the 10th largest state exporter of wheat products ($283 million), the 5th largest exporter of hides and skins ($150 million), the 14th largest exporter of corn ($127 million), the 16th largest exporter of processed grain products ($123 million), and the 14th largest exporter of feeds and fodders ($121 million).

Colorado's Metropolitan Exports

  • In 2012, the following metropolitan areas in Colorado recorded merchandise exports: Denver-Aurora-Broomfield ($3.4 billion), Greeley ($1.4 billion), Boulder ($1.1 billion), Colorado Springs ($1.0 billion), Fort Collins-Loveland ($862 million), Pueblo ($190 million) and Grand Junction ($129 million).

Foreign Investment Creates Jobs in Colorado

  • In 2011, foreign-controlled companies employed 83,300 Colorado workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Colorado in 2011 included the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and France.
  • Foreign investment in Colorado was responsible for 4.4 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2011.