Officials say planning and sound practices contribute to stronger economy and lower unemployment in Utah

By Glen Mills

Published 05/19 2014 05:11PM

Updated 05/19 2014 06:28PM

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Utah companies are open for business and thousands are looking for help.

The demand has driven Utah's unemployment rate down to 3.8%, more than two points lower than the national average...

The healthy economy can be a two edge sword for some small business owners.

Good that people are working and have money to spend, not so much when trying to hire the right help.

"If they are good they are poached pretty quickly, then you have to train someone all over again. Or, you're left with people you can retain, but they are not the quality employees," said Now and Again Owner, Michael Sanders.

Sanders gave up on hiring hourly employees for his Salt Lake City store.

Instead he gives consigners a bigger cut to be on location and watch over the store at times.

If he were looking to hire, the competition would be fierce right now.

"Right now it is a great time to be a job seeker and right now you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to look for a job than Utah," said Nic Dunn, with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

His agency has more than 20,000 job listings in its database.

That's not the case in other parts of the country and Dunn says it's no accident Utah finds itself near the top.

He says there are many factors in our state's success, but sums it up in three key points.

1) Job Growth- In April our economy grew 2.9%, more than one point higher than the national average.

2) Labor Force- Companies benefit from an educated and multilingual population in our state.

3) Business Friendly Climate- Low taxes and reduced regulation.

"All those things work together to make the pool from which businesses are drawing to hire people valuable to them," said Dunn.

Sanders doesn't see that changing any time soon.

That's why he plans to stick with partners, over employees.

"That business model is great, because everyone that is involved with the store takes ownership in the business," said Sanders.

One area the state could improve in is the high tech sector.

In many cases companies still have to rely on out of state candidates.

That's why we have seen a big emphasis on STEM education as of late, science, technology, engineering and math.

It's the state's effort to better meet that need in the future.

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