Utah's economy made steady progress in 1988 and shows no sign of flagging so far in 1989, some 250 shareholders and customers of the newly christened West One Bancorp were told this week.
Formerly Moore Financial Group Inc., the Boise-based West One has renamed its holding company and subsidiary banks in Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Washington. Long-time Utah banking institutions Continental Bank & Trust Co. and Tracy Collins Bank & Trust Co. now wear the new West One Bank logo.Although the corporation held its official annual meeting in Boise last week, the firm traditionally takes the meeting "on the road" to the cities where it has major operations. The Salt Lake meeting was held Tuesday at Little America where Chairman Daniel R. Nelson explained the reasons for the name change and reviewed 1988 and first quarter 1989 financials - reported last week in the Deseret News.
West One Bank Utah President James C. Stewart told the gathering that non-farm employment in Utah grew by 27,000 jobs over the past year and unemployment is now hovering near the lows reached in 1979.
Stewart said 1989 should see even more improvement in the Utah economy.
"While higher interest (rates) and a somewhat less robust national economy will have a local impact, several significant construction projects have been announced and the growing labor force should boost demand for new housing," Stewart told shareholders.
He predicted growth in manufacturing this year but said not as many jobs will be created as in 1988 because of one-time occurrences last year such as the reopening of Geneva Steel.
"But non-manufacturing industries will take up the slack," Stewart predicted, "producing average job growth during the year at about the same rate as in 1988. Retail sales will also pick up from the 1988 pace, reflecting job growth in the state."