The amount of office and industrial space available in Salt Lake County during 1990 decreased, but that means higher rental or lease rates because landlords can charge more since space is at a premium.

That was the gist of messages presented during a meeting of the Utah Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks in Little America, during the group's annual space absorption meeting.Jim Light of Wallace Associates Business Properties Group said his company surveys all of the Class A office property in Salt Lake County and most of the Class B office property and in the fourth quarter of 1990 the availability dropped to 20 percent from 22 percent in the same period in 1989.

He said the community absorbed slightly less office space in 1990 than it did in 1989 and the central Salt Lake City business district shows significant construction that will result in space availability figures increasing.

Greg Stuart, chairman of the board, and John Gurr, a salesman for Commerce Properties, said industrial space vacancies declined in 1990 to 6.9 percent from 8.8 percent in 1989, but rates increased 25 cents per square-foot per month. Stuart anticipates the vacancy rate decreasing further in 1991.

In Salt Lake County there are 67.1 million square-feet of industrial space and Stuart believes there has never before been a glut of this type of space. Gurr feels there should be some industrial space built on speculation for small businesses, but added that lending institutions are reluctant to loan money on that at the present.

Also speaking was Jeff Thredgold, senior vice president and chief economist for Key Corp., who said the Utah economy should avoid the recession bothering the remainder of the country unless the problems are long-lasting. He said Utah's low unemployment rate, the creation of 24,000 jobs in 1991 and the fact that out-migration has stopped are good signs for the state.

Thredgold said that even though the average per capita income in Utah is lower than the national average, the cost of living in the state is lower than other large cities in the west.