The leader of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah on Thursday hailed the past fiscal year as "remarkable" and said it capped a successful three-year stretch.

During the organization's annual meeting, Jeff Edwards, the corporation's president and chief executive officer, said the agency's efforts in 2007-08 will lead to the creation of 5,370 jobs, the retention of 867 jobs, development of 2.6 million square feet of industrial and office space and $1.3 billion in capital investment. The agency handled 133 visits to Utah by companies or their representatives considering the state for operations.

Leading the way were a 1,000-job Procter & Gamble manufacturing project in Box Elder County and a $285 million Oracle Corp. data center in West Jordan.

"I have to say that the significance of their decision to come here to Utah has already changed how we're perceived on a national level," Edwards said of Procter & Gamble's move.

The agency's efforts during 2006-07 yielded 5,585 created jobs; 840 retained jobs; 2.6 million square feet of development and $884.9 million in capital investment.

During the past three years, the agency's work has led to 16,591 new jobs created and 2,202 retained; 8 million square feet of development and $5.6 billion in capital investment.

"It's just an absolutely unprecedented time in Utah's history, when you look back at all of that," Edwards told the crowd of more than 400.

He also noted that his agency remains busy, with 251 "open" projects. Part of the organization's focus is on recruiting in certain sectors, including biotechnology, aerospace, composite materials, financial services, outdoor projects and energy, he said.


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com