1/18/2018 - SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) This week, there was a huge announcement on the economic outlook of the state.Carrie Mayne, Chief Economist from the Department of Workforce Services, and Lara Fritts, the Director of the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development, joined Hailey Higgens to talk about the major takeaway from last year, the strengths and weaknesses of Utah, and the impact of air quality.
Just this week there was the big Utah Economic Outlook. We heard from some of the state's top economists. Here are some of the takeaways from 2017:
- The Utah economy remains healthy!
- Every major industrial sector expanded in 2017
- Data shows that Utah is the best positioned economy in the nation (KCGPI)
- 3.1% employment growth in 2017 was double that of the nation, a banner year for Utah.
As we look ahead to 2018 and beyond, we asked Mayne and Fritts what is helping us, and what is potentially hurting us. Some things that are helping Utah's economy include:
- A unique demographic profile
- Relatively low cost of living
- Business-friendly business and economic climate
- Transportation ("Crossroads of the West")
And some things that are hurting Utah's economy:
- Supply of workers
- Increasing costs
- Air quality
- Housing affordability
- Late business cycle
Utah is likely closing in on an 8.5-year economic expansion cycle, which is the 3rd longest economic expansion ever. Utah's population is expected to double by 2065 - which means approximately 6-million people in Utah. At this rate, imagine dropping in a packed Rice Eccles or LaVell Edwards Stadium into our economy every year.
Air quality was brought up time and again during the session. So, how does air quality impact our economy and economic development efforts? If there was any doubt of the impact air quality has on the economy, there shouldn't be anymore. At times, Utah's bad air quality is three times the national average. This impacts quality of life that is promote so heavily when recruiting businesses.
When company executives or site selectors visit SLC and can't see the mountains because our air is so bad, it greatly impacts their decision to expand, relocate, headquarter, or start their business here. This also impacts the businesses and employees already here, and if they are leaving SLC or Utah due to air quality, we are losing the workforce we need.
Finally, we asked Mayne and Fritts to sum up our economic outlook with one word. They did use a few, but all were very promising:
For more information on the economic state of Utah, visit SLCGov.com.
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