Major Economic Drivers

Wondering what makes up the economic base in the Gunnison Valley? We’ll walk you through historical economic drivers and our current largest industries and employers.

Key Industries in the Gunnison Valley

Like most of Western Colorado, the economic base of the Gunnison Valley was historically in mining and agriculture. Today these industries make up under 6% of the local economy. Currently the education sector makes up nearly twice as much of the economy, largely due to the strong learning environments at the elementary and post-secondary levels.

Jobs in the Gunnison Valley by sector

Tourism makes up the heart of the Gunnison Valley economy in 2018. Over 200,000 people per year visit the Valley to enjoy our extensive recreational opportunities on over 2 Million acres of public lands. Tourists bring with them disposable income and a generous appetite for our food, entertainment, culture and, of course, outdoor recreation.

riders on a t-bar at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Fisherman prepping a fly for the river

NAICS Industry Sector Employee Count*
Accommodation and Food Service 1,261
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 1,040
Educational Services 827
Retail Trade 808
Construction 678

*Data from US Census Bureau, 2015

Leading Employers

The largest 4 non-governmental employers in the Gunnison Valley are:

The One Valley Prosperity Project (OVPP) aims to create a prosperous future for all Gunnison Valley community members. A key component of OVPP is to build a more stable and diverse economy that provides more attractive employment opportunities, supports small business and encourages entrepreneurship.

Learn More

Finding Work in the Gunnison Valley

If you’ve moved to the Gunnison Valley and are looking for work, here are some major sectors of the economy you could consider.


Dreaming of a job that keeps you outside or on the slopes most of the time? You’re not alone. Our outdoor recreation opportunities are what bring most people to the Gunnison-Crested Butte region. The Gunnison Valley is a major mountain bike and ski destination and most of the jobs you’ll find are related to tourism. Many wind up working at Crested Butte Mountain Resort – or one of the many shops, restaurants, galleries and other recreational amenities in the Valley.

It’s worth keeping in mind that many of these employment opportunities are seasonal and are typically associated with lower wages. It’s not unusual for locals who work in tourism to hold more than one job that will carry them through shoulder and off-peak seasons.

Explore job opportunities at Crested Butte Mountain Resort:
Search CBMR Opportunities


Western Colorado University is the singular largest employer in the region and the job opportunities range from part-time administrative and support roles to full-time, tenured faculty positions. As a teaching institution, Western offers competitive compensation and benefit packages, but qualification requirements can also be demanding. Approximately 90% of the faculty hold PhD’s.

Of course, Western is not the only place to find a teaching position in the Gunnison Valley. The Gunnison Watershed School District is considered a top-notch public school system by teachers, students, and parents alike. Excellent job opportunities exist for licensed teachers, as well as in substitution, coaching and administrative roles.

Western Colorado University

View Western Colorado University employment opportunities.

Search WSCU Opportunities

K-12 Public Schools

View employment opportunities in the Gunnison Watershed School District.

Search RE1J Opportunities



Ready to Connect with Our team?
Fill out our contact form and tell us a little bit more about yourself and how we can help you and your business succeed in the Gunnison Valley.

    economic development in the Gunnison Valley.
    (We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.)