Gov. Norm Bangerter doesn't want Utahns to get too cocky about the good economic condition the state finds itself in.
"Utah's economic condition is much better than many parts of the country, but that doesn't mean we are posh. If we keep our powder dry we will do well," Bangerter told members of the Wasatch Front Economic Forum during their annual review meeting in the Marriott Hotel.The governor said many states have had good economic times and spent everything they had and then some, and now that times have gone the other way many states find themselves in financial trouble. That's why he has tried to keep Utah government "on an even keel" to prevent the drastic ups and downs of economic conditions.
Just before he spoke, the governor received a copy of an economic report on the state from Mike Christensen, deputy director of the Utah Office of Planning and Budget.
Citing several events, like Salt Lake City being chosen to compete for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, and several magazine articles extolling several virtues about Utah's economic climate, the governor said the attention is having a positive impact on the state.
He said state government has been praised for its financial accounting procedures, its AAA bond rating, a rainy-day fund, short-term debt and keeping ongoing expenditures in line with revenues.
The governor said Utah can take pride in the performance of the state's economy in the past two years because 65,000 new jobs were created, the second best percentage amount in the U.S.
Looking toward the 1990s, Bangerter said Utahns don't want state government or any government to plan their future for them. He said state government should focus on doing those things that government is designed to do and do them well.
"If government does its part effectively, individuals and businesses will create their own jobs and increase their wealth," he said.
The stature of Utah's economic climate in the 1990s will depend on everyone realizing the importance of education, the governor said. The shift to the services industry highlights the importance of a good education, but no matter where the jobs are located, education is necessary for people to take the jobs in all sectors, he said.
Christensen reviewed the 1970s and the 1980s and said Utah and the nation have been shifting from a goods-producing economy to a services-producing economy. He said the speed of the shift in Utah during the 1980s was significant.
By 1989, goods-producing employment fell to 19.8 percent of nonagricultural employment and services grew to 80.2 percent, Christensen said.
Another major shift in employment took place in government. From 1950 to 1976, government was the largest employer in Utah, but in 1976 trade became the largest employer and government dropped to second. In 1989, government dropped another notch with services becoming the largest industry and trade dropping to second, Christensen said.
The report, prepared by several state agencies, said Utah should have a moderate economic growth in 1991 and about 22,000 jobs should be created. The average wage is expected to increase by 3.6 percent, total nonagricultural wages should increase by 6.7 percent and personal income should increase by 7 percent this year.