Utahns have twice the disposable income today they had 30 years ago, which indicates a prosperous economy, said Dave Adams, executive director of the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development.
Adams was the keynote speaker at a Kiwanis luncheon Wednesday in the Quality Inn, 154 W. Sixth South."From 1980 to 1984 we had the longest period of low job creation since the mid-50s, and now we are starting to see the economy strengthen," Adams said. "Sales tax revenues are up, and that is an indication of a strong economy."
He said there was a dramatic decline in the growth of personal income from 1978 through 1984, but with the numerous new jobs the state has been able to create, that is now turning around.
"It's the kind of jobs that we have been creating that's given us a different standard of living, a different level of income," Adams said.
He said Utah has now become a more export-driven state.
"Utah has one of the highest levels of patents issued to scientists and engineers every year of any state," Adams said.
He said the University of Utah ranks third in the nation of the number of new businesses developed from university research.
"Jobs created from the universities in this state employ thousands of people every year," he said.
Adams contributed the success of Utah's strengthening economy to its people.
"Our people are our greatest natural resource," Adams said. "We have the best-educated people in the world. Generally speaking we have the highest number of high school and college graduates . . . and one of the lowest dropout rates.
"Our high school students consistently rank in the upper 30 percentile in American College testing and rank number one in the students who take the test."
Melanie Johnson, an honored guest and a 1988 Skyline High School graduate, was presented with a $500 Kiwanis Scholarship Award to Weber State College.