Ravell Call, Deseret News
Winner: The nation's teen birth rate is in steep decline, and Utah is one of a handful of states where it fell more than 30 percent over a four-year period. This is good news, considering children born to teenage mothers are, in the aggregate, saddled with many disadvantages, and that the mothers also face fewer opportunities for their own futures. To the extent this represents a decrease in teenage sexual activity, this is especially good news, although the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wasn't clear on overall causes for the drop.
Winner: If you judge by the housing industry, the economy is on the mend. New home sales jumped 2.3 percent in April, with 454,000 homes sold. But keep it in perspective. Analysts say 700,000 is the benchmark for a healthy market. Still, sales have risen steadily over the past year, and prices have been rising at the highest rate since 1993, the Associated Press reported this week. That's bad news for first-time buyers or low-income people, of course. But it is a sign that something must be going right. If prices are rising, more people must be bidding on homes, and they must be getting money somewhere.
Loser: The recent landslide at the Kennecott Copper mine was an unfortunate occurrence, but it has led to about 100 people losing their jobs, which is an especially hard thing for the lives affected. The company said it tried to minimize the layoffs by asking workers to take vacations or unpaid leave, but it couldn't avoid the cuts due to a loss of production.
Loser: Saddled with massive student loan debt, one-third of college graduates ages 22 to 32 now say they regret going to college and wish they had been working during that time instead. The survey, conducted by Wells Fargo and reported by Forbes, also said more than half the graduates say debt is their biggest financial concern right now, with 42 percent calling it "overwhelming." The survey says perhaps more about the cost of education than its value, and it foreshadows what may be big changes ahead. With the Internet offering an increasing number of quality online courses for little cost, the economics of learning may soon change the way people acquire an education. Also, a large majority of those polled said they think personal finance should be better taught in high school, keeping people from having to learn about it the hard way.
Winner: South Jordan is the trendy place to live. Once a sleepy distant suburb to Salt Lake City, it grew by 4.87 percent between July 2011 and July 2012 alone, according to Census Bureau estimates. That was the second highest growth rate in the nation, just a smidgen behind San Marcos, Texas. South Jordan's population now is estimated at 55,934 and growing.
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