U.S. Chamber study: Utah economy poised for major growth

Published: Friday, June 15 2012 11:45 a.m. MDT

At right, Lane Beattie, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, opens the presentation as the Salt Lake Chamber announces the Utah Jobs Agenda, a plan to create 150,000 jobs in Utah over the next five years. Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. Utah was voted one of the best states for future economic prosperity due to its strong job growth and thriving export market, according to a recent report on enterprising states released Wednesday, June 13, 2012, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Ravell Call, Deseret News archives

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Utah was voted one of the best states for future economic prosperity due to its strong job growth and thriving export market, according to a recent report on enterprising states released Wednesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The state was voted one of the top 10 in the nation for long-term and short-term job growth as it experienced a 2.1 percent job growth since April 2011.

The unemployment rate in Utah dropped to 5.8 percent in March, which is more than two percentage points lower than the nation’s 8.1 percent.

Because the state’s business costs are 10 percent below the national average, many technology companies see Utah as an affordable alternative to West Coast states, according to the study.

“The U.S. Chamber is leading the charge to strengthen the American economy,” Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Board of Governors, said in a statement. “We’ve shown in Utah that creating an environment in which businesses can thrive is critical to economic growth.”

The Beehive State received 14 other top 10 accolades including third in gross state product growth and second in export growth.

Utah is the fourth fastest growing state for science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs with a 5.6 percent growth rate.

Financial services make up 5.8 percent of Utah’s employment. The sector brought in 21.7 percent of the state’s gross product in 2010.

Utah’s “highly educated, multilingual and productive workforce” attracts many financial services companies to the area, according to the study.

“In Utah, we do what the nation should do,” Beattie said. “We live within our means and we invest in areas that foster growth. It sounds simple but it requires extraordinary leadership and discipline.”

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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