Despite the perceptions of many, Utah's job market is fertile and its economy is doing well compared to other states in the region, aides to Gov. Norm Bangerter say.

The Bangerter administration was buoyed Tuesday by Utah's high ranking in a recent Inc. Magazine survey of how well states are stimulating new businesses and economic expansion.Utah finished 15th in the survey, but dropped from 12th in the magazine's survey one year ago. However, only four other states west of the Mississippi River fared better.

"What this really means is that Utah has as diversified an economy and has less of a reliance on natural resources than a lot of states," said Reed Searle, Bangerter's chief of staff.

The survey said Utah created 82,300 new jobs in 1987, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. There were 722 new companies, 162 of which were considered fast-growth companies.

The only other Western states with better rankings were Arizona, which finished first, California, eighth, Nevada, 10th, and Texas, 12.

Colorado was ranked 22nd, Idaho finished 42nd and Wyoming came in last.

Searle said the survey shows many people have wrong perceptions about Utah and jobs.

"Everyone thinks all the jobs are in Washington and Oregon," he said. Those states finished 24th and 33rd, respectively. "Our state needs to have more of a can-do optimism."

Arizona finished far ahead of any other state, posting a 32 percent increase in jobs. The magazine said Arizona has become a refuge for high-tech companies that want to leave California's Silicon Valley.

The survey showed coastal states doing better than inland states, although New York finished 28th.