Utah’s economic clusters (key industries) include aerospace and defense, energy and natural resources, financial services, life sciences, outdoor products and software development/information technology. These vibrant sectors leverage on Utah’s core compelling competencies in a broad range of industries, innovation and workforce.
Through a framework focused on growing jobs, cluster directors review an industry in conjunction with trade associations, critical agency partners and key organizations to develop strategic plans that address issues in the areas of advocacy, innovation, capital, manufacturing, infrastructure, workforce development, international opportunities and marketing.
The result is a vibrant and growing Utah economy that can be seen in the 178,259 jobs in our six clusters up from 171,390 the previous year—a growth rate of 4.0%. Individual cluster growth scores can be seen on the following pages.
Cluster Jobs – 2012
Utah’s 6 strategic industry clusters account for 178,965 jobs as of Q4 2012
Energy and Natural Resources
The foundational economic importance of the energy sector was recognized by Governor Gary R. Herbert when he identified energy as one of the Four Cornerstones of Utah’s economic recovery.
Currently the energy sector provides over 18,600 jobs in the state and 1.5% of the Utah workforce. These positions, on average, pay about 175% of the state’s median wage. Clearly these are good jobs, and there’s every indication that the sector is poised to grow.
At this time Utah is the 11th biggest producer of oil in the country, and the 9th biggest producer of natural gas. However, as oil prices remain high, as natural gas finds additional domestic uses and/or export markets, and as technologies continue to open up previously unrecoverable resources, Utah’s conventional fossil fuel production is expected to continue to rise.
Additionally, unconventional fossil resources such as oil shale and oil sands are right on the cusp of a breakthrough, with a handful of projects taking care of final permits and financing, with plans to break ground in the next 2-3 years.
Similarly, in the realm of large-scale renewable energy development, the rapid decline in technology costs, particularly in the realm of solar photovoltaic panels, has prompted a burst of activity in southern Utah, with large firms tying up land and assessing transmission capacity.
The United States is, as a whole, experiencing a revolution in energy development, and Utah is positioned to be ever more important to the nation’s energy independence.
In the spring of 2011, the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED) was formed in response to Governor Herbert’s 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan, and has now been positioned as the primary resource for advancing energy development in Utah. In its first year, 2011, OED hosted over 1,000 attendees at its first annual Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit.
When the second Summit’s attendance jumped to 1,400, the high levels of attendance and sponsorship clearly demonstrated that the Governor is not alone in anticipating energy’s growing importance to the state.
While those companies and jobs that constitute Utah’s energy sector range from urban to rural—from attorneys and petroleum engineers to oil well operators and wind turbine maintenance technicians – energy production is a particular boon for rural counties.
Indeed, in Carbon, Duchesne and San Juan Counties, 40% of all property tax revenue comes from energy development, and in Uintah, Millard and Emery Counties, between 55-80% of all property taxes flow from energy development.
In total, energy production in those counties and others was valued at $4.6 billion in 2012, and accounted for $587 million in revenues to the state and other political subdivisions. Energy is big in Utah, and it’s getting bigger.
Utah’s life sciences industry employs more than 26,499 employees, 2.1% of the Utah workforce. This places Utah first among the western states for life science businesses per capita and second for overall industry growth.
Utah’s life science cluster boasts an average wage that is 149% above the overall Utah average.
Utah is specialized in its industry concentration compared to the nation and outpaces national growth in all four life sciences industry subsectors. A comparison of the life sciences industry in Utah to that of the nation using standard national industry classifications reveals that across four major subsectors—Medical Devices and Equipment; Drugs and Pharmaceuticals; Research, Testing and Medical Labs; and Biomedical Distribution—Utah is specialized with at least a 20% higher level of industry concentration than is found at the national level for that subsector. Furthermore, each of the major subsectors of the life sciences industry is growing faster in Utah.
The 2012 Battelle Study, Accelerating Utah’s Life Science Industry, called for economic development to focus on four major strategies to accelerate growth of the life science cluster:
1) Develop, retain and attract bioscience talent
2) Ensure access to capital at all stages of firm development
3) Significantly increase University/Industry collaborations
4) Advocate for Utah’s life science industry
Capitalizing on information from this report, the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP), a collaboration between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Utah System of Higher Education and the Department of Workforce Services, created four working groups, led by industry and academic partners, to address issues within the four areas.
These working groups have identified and solved major hurdles associated with each of these cluster growth strategies. As an example, this fall, Utah Valley University (UVU) will implement a Regulatory Affairs curriculum that directly addresses the needs of the cluster. As we complete 2013, we continue to increase the effectiveness of these groups.
Fiscal Year 2013 also saw the creation of BioUtah, an independent industry trade organization. BioUtah had its genesis in November 2012 with the merger of two life sciences organizations: the Intermountain Biomedical Association and MD4.
Approximately 80 life sciences-oriented organizations that were part of the Utah Technology Council were also folded into BioUtah, making BioUtah the premier advocacy organization for life sciences businesses and organizations in Utah.
Information Technology & Software Development
Utah’s information technology and software development industries have been vibrant forces for growth in the Utah economy for nearly three decades. This cluster is the largest of the strategic clusters and represents about 4% of all jobs in the State, ending calendar year 2012 with 51,451 jobs in IT/Software companies in Utah, a growth rate of 6.5% year-over-year.
As well, there are roughly 4,100 business establishments within the IT/Software industry in Utah in 2012, representing an 8% growth rate over 2011.
The average wage in the IT/Software industry is $76,052 about 94% higher than the state average wage. Total wages for the IT/Software sector from 2011 to 2012 grew at a rate of 14%.
Utah has been home to significant IT and software companies for many years, a legacy that continues to this day. In 1985, two of the three largest software companies in the world, Novell and WordPerfect, were based in Utah—Microsoft was the third. In recent years, Utah has had significant successes such as Omniture, led by Josh James, going public and later being acquired by Adobe Systems.
James then turned around and restated his commitment to Utah by starting Domo, a Utah-based business intelligence company, with more than $125 million in funding from investors including Benchmark, Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz.
Digital interview provider, Hirevue, announced plans to add 540 jobs in Utah, which includes $30 million in capital expansion and over $170 million in new state wages over the next seven years.
Outdoor Products and Recreation
The outdoor products and recreation cluster continues to grow. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development recently appointed a new Director, Brad Petersen, of the legislatively created Outdoor Recreation Office, which strives to increase Utah’s recognition as a best place for outdoor business and recreation.
The cluster met with great success during their Outdoor Retailer Summer and Outdoor Retailer Winter shows. The Outdoor Retailer shows’ contract was extended until 2016, which will bring great revenue and business opportunities to the State.
The Outdoor Products and Recreation Cluster works with a broad range of well-known outdoor companies: Amer Sports, Rossignol, Voile, Bluehouse, Black Diamond, Petzl, Lizard Skins, Specialized and Quality Bicycle Products.
Aerospace and Defense Cluster
The aerospace and defense cluster continued growing through 2012, adding almost 30 employees to a base of 28,000 jobs representing about 2.3% of all jobs in Utah. The sector represents almost 3% of all state wages, with average wages about 70% higher than the Utah average wage.
The Aerospace and Defense Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP) process continues. The programs established a cooperative program between L-3 Com and Salt Lake Community College to train electronic electrician technicians and assemblers at the college’s new Westpointe Campus. The program graduated approximately 170 students from its first class this year; all of which were hired by L-3 Com.
GOED has teamed up with Mountain West Unmanned Systems Alliance (MWUSA ) and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) to establish Utah as one of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sites for the evaluation of civilian use of Unmanned Aerial Systems in the National Airspace.
The State has applied to the FAA to be selected as one of its six Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) test sites. Unmanned Aerial Systems are already a significant component of Utah’s aerospace industry and a key part of Utah’s initiative for growth of high-technology employment.
Selection as a test site will officially establish Utah as a viable national hub for UAS efforts resulting in stimulated high end job growth, increased and enhanced research opportunities for higher education and sustained economic impact. If the FAA selects Utah as one of its testing sites, the state could see a direct increase in a possible excess of 10,000 full time private sector jobs during the ten-year period following the OTA award.
Utah exhibited at the annual Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference at which were highlighted the excellence and capabilities of Utah’s Unmanned System’s companies and academic institutions.
Governor Gary R. Herbert hosted a gathering of major aerospace and unmanned system companies, including AAI, Sierra Nevada Corp, L-3, Boeing, John Deere, Lockheed-Martin, ImSAR. Additionally high-level executives from the DoD, FAA and other Federal agencies attended.
In June, ITT Exelis was awarded a multi-million dollar contract from Lockheed Martin to fabricate composite blade seal components for all variants of the F-35 Lightning II program.
Financial Services Cluster
With 91 state-chartered institutions and a combined total of $403.4 billion in total asset distribution, the State of Utah has become a major player in the financial services industry. Utah boasts the highest number of industrial banks in the nation with 31 chartered industrial banks and has eight of the top ten industrial banks in the country by asset size.
Industry Sectors and Associations
For companies who lack the resources to purchase equipment, or would like to improve their balance sheets and ability to borrow, equipment leasing may be an attractive option.
Working through commercial leasing companies and most traditional commercial banks in Utah, equipment leasing can be done for equipment ranging in price from tens of thousands of dollars to tens of millions of dollars.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.
The SBA is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same: The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.
Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
Industrial banks (IB’s) are financial institutions authorized to make consumer/commercial loans and to accept federally insured deposits. IB charters are unique in that the owners of these banks are not required to be regulated by the Federal Reserve as bank holding companies.
The Utah Department of Financial Institutions supervises IB owners which are chartered under Utah law and the FDIC under a special program developed principally for the IB industry. The flexibility of an IB charter has made it an attractive vehicle for many large and well-known corporations. The state of Utah has proven to be a particularly attractive place to operate IB’s and now hosts the most IB’s in the country.
IB’s chartered in Utah currently hold the bulk of IB industry assets. Utah boasts the highest number of industrial banks in the nation with 31 chartered industrial banks and has eight of the top ten in the country by asset size.
MountainWest Capital Network (MWCN)
MWCN is Utah’s first and largest business networking organization devoted to supporting entrepreneurial success. MWCN works to foster the flow of information about capital formation and distribution, educates and mentors and recognizes and rewards performance in Utah. MWCN tracks and reports deal flow in the state. For 2010, there were 149 total deals creating a transaction value of $3,670,899,000 up from $3,463,000,126 in 2009 due to improving national economic conditions. This data is broken down in the following table.
The data provided is not a complete listing of all deals in Utah, since many are confidential and not reported and some have insufficient data for inclusion.
Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund
Over the past nineteen years, the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund has worked in partnership with members of Utah’s financial banking community to help launch or expand more than 810 small businesses across the state.
Through their loans ($1,000-$25,000), they’ve been able to help people with low to moderate incomes supplement their earnings, helped women find the flexibility they need to balance their work and families, and worked with child care providers to increase the number of children they are able to have in their care.
They have also helped minorities, immigrants and people who have been injured in the workplace find economic security through ownership and operation of their own small businesses.