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MOSourceLink Show Me Jobs, Fall 2022

MO Tech Startups Add 74% More New Jobs in 2021 vs. 2020, Number of Total Startups Rises

Missouri’s high-tech companies are high-impact companies: They grow jobs faster, pay higher wages and offset job losses from early-stage business closures. Their economic impact is made clear in MOSourceLink’s latest "Show Me Jobs" report.

In 2021, new tech startups, defined in "Show Me Jobs" as first-time employers in tech industries with fewer than 20 employees, created 1,297 new jobs, recouping a dip in jobs created by new tech firms in 2019 and 2020. Accounting for the employees hired in each year from 2017 through 2020, as well as job losses, tech startups created a cumulative total of 7,930 jobs in 2021.

“In a boom year for technology companies nationwide, Missouri tech startups rebounded from the pandemic with vigor,” says Alexces Bartley, network builder for MOSourceLink. “Missouri’s new tech startups create jobs, and they create good jobs. Wages at Missouri tech startups pay nearly double the state’s average wage—and wages are where the investment in an entrepreneurial economy becomes a driver of economic growth.”

"Show Me Jobs" quantifies the economic impact not just of tech firms, but all of Missouri’s new and young firms. Using data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for Missouri, MOSourceLink used a statistical analysis to calculate the number of jobs from first-time employers by looking at employers who paid for unemployment insurance for the first time. MOSourceLink further sorted that number to include only those employers with 20 or fewer employees at the time of first hire.

How do startups impact jobs in Missouri?

Startups create nearly 80% of net new jobs in Missouri. Dive into the latest "Show Me Jobs" report, uncover the impact of Missouri startups and explore job creation across the state.

Also in the report, MOSourceLink reveals that, across the state of Missouri, new and young businesses with fewer than 20 employees created over 187,430 jobs from 2017 to 2021, accounting for nearly 81% of all new jobs in the state.

In addition, the pandemic spurred startups across the state: Missouri created 18,234 startup firms in 2021, up from 16,287 in 2020 and 15,934 in 2019.

Where are those startups located? Through a heat map that measures startup density by geography, "Show Me Jobs" illustrates that startups, defined as first-time employers with fewer than 20 employees, are launched in every corner of the state, from the rolling hills of the north to the lowlands of the Bootheel. 

“With the right resources, startups can start anywhere, and with "Show Me Jobs," we know where they’re starting now,” says Alexces Bartley, network builder for MOSourceLink. “When you look at startup density geographically, you see what you would expect: Startups cluster around the urban centers of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia and Joplin.”

The counties of St. Louis County, Jackson, St. Louis City, Saint Charles and Greene round out the top five for startup creation in Missouri, followed by Boone, Clay, Jefferson, Cape Girardeau and Jasper.

In addition to jobs created by first-time employers, the report also provides year-to-year comparison data regarding job creation by new and young firms and by the tech sector as well as wage growth, the industrial density of startups and the geographic dispersal of Missouri startups.

Further highlights from the report (available for download at include:

  • First-time employers who employed fewer than 20 employees created 40,544 new jobs in Missouri in 2021, an increase of 11% over 2020. This accounts for 81% of all new jobs in Missouri.

  •  Considering the employees hired by these same firms in 2017 and in each succeeding year, and accounting for job losses as well, first-time employers created 187,430 new jobs from 2017 to 2021.

  • A heat map reveals that startups are everywhere. The counties of St. Louis, Jackson, St. Louis City, Saint Charles and Greene round out the top 5 counties for startup creation in Missouri, followed by Boone, Clay, Jefferson, Cape Girardeau and Jasper.

  • New tech firms created an average of 956 jobs each year for the past five years.

  • Missouri had 18,234 new startup firms in 2021.

  • Wages at startup tech firms start at nearly double the state’s average wage.

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