According to a story in the New York Times, a survey conducted by the Kaufman Foundation says Montana leads the nation in new business creation.

Barbara Wagner, Chief Economist for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, said this is the third year in a row Montana has received that honor, but it was a negative national economy and low wages in the state that were the driving forces behind all those new businesses.

"There's some negative aspects to our economy that spur entrepreneurism," Wagner said. "For instance, Montana doesn't have very high wages, so I think a lot of people choose to start their own business because they're trying to make up for some wage income, or they feel they can go out on their own and make a higher income. Even though Montana ranks near the bottom in overall wages, because of the entrepreneurial efforts in Montana, the state ranks 35th in business income."

Wagner said it's not manufacturing and large industry that are leading the way in new business creation.

"Most manufacturing businesses require a lot of start up capital, so Montana businesses will start small," she said. "We have a lot of new restaurants, for example, because they have lower start-up costs."

Wagner said these new businesses are not just starting up in Montana's largest cities.

"While we think of Missoula and Bozeman as these young, driving and very dynamic economies that are driving these new businesses, it's actually happening across the state in nearly every county with fairly high rates," Wagner said.

Wagner pointed out the high number of craft breweries and distilleries that have started up in Montana, as well as high-tech businesses dealing with healthcare and other technology as exciting new trends in the state.