Based on an average of five broad indicators, Utah's economic well-being ranks fairly well against the other 50 states and the District of Columbia. Taking into account the number of families living below the poverty level, overall economic production, recent house price behavior, unemployment levels and residential foreclosure rates, Utah ranks 16th out of 51.
While this analysis relies upon a number of assumptions and some generalizations, the results appear to be generally consistent with what can be observed. Underlying data and analysis comes from the newspaper Financial Times, RealtyTrac and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Poverty rankings look at the established poverty level and assess how many families are living below that established level. In this category, Utah ranks third. The two states with a higher level of families living in poverty are Utah's neighbors, Arizona and New Mexico, ranking 50th and 49th out of 51, respectively.
Utah does not fare as well in the domestic production category.
Rankings look at the percentage change in gross domestic production as compared to the prior year's level. This measure does not take into account the health or size of a state's productio but rather the year over year growth. Here Utah ranks 40th.
In the house price behavior category, Utah ranks around the middle of the pack at 23. Massachusetts leads the other states with the No. 1 ranking. Nevada holds the dubious honor of being at the bottom of the rankings. Of the other states adjacent to Utah, only Colorado's ranking is higher at 19th.
A significant indicator of the overall economic health of a state is the unemployment rate. Based on the information in this analysis, Utah ranks 14th out of 51. North Dakota ranks highest, with South Dakota at No. 3. Both these states are benefiting from the booming oil and gas industries.
When looking at the number of residential foreclosures this year as compared to the prior year, Utah is again around the middle of the group with a ranking of 27. Vermont ranks 51st and Arkansas ranks No. 1. This statistic many not tell the entire foreclosure story, as local regulations impose differing time frames and constraints on the foreclosure process. Of the states adjoining Utah, the highest ranking state is Wyoming at No. 6.
Overall, this analysis indicates Utah's economic health is relatively good.
Kirby Brown is the CEO of Beneficial Financial Group in Salt Lake City.