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Utah’s unique combination of business-friendly policies coupled with its dynamic, youthful workforce has created one of the nation’s strongest economies.

Governor Gary R. Herbert and legislators govern with a sound, insightful economic policy approach, which has enabled the State to garner national accolades like being named the “Best State for Business and Careers” by Forbes for three consecutive years. Utah continues to be an example of strategic governance that works for the State’s citizenry and its business environment.

Economic Leadership & Job Growth

Sound governance and strategic economic development has positioned Utah as one of the nation’s most promising states. The State, in fact, has been one of the nation’s first to recover from economic slowdowns since the early Twentieth Century. Utah typically grows more rapidly than the nation after recessions, and this pattern is continuing in the current recovery. In this United States, employment grew 1.4% in 2012, much lower than Utah’s rate. While employment increased during 2012, Utah’s unemployment rate also improved to 5.9%, lower than the rate in 2011. The Beehive State is poised for further economic growth into the future.

  • During 2013, Utah’s job growth is expected to increase at 3.2%, while the nation ticks down to 1.3%
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s leading index for Utah suggests economic activity will grow 2% over the first half of 2013
  • Utah’s unemployment rate at 5.2% has consistently been lower than the national average.

Industry Excels Here

Utah continues to live up to its billing as the most dynamic state economy. Utah’s robust job growth is fostered by an exceptional business environment. In contrast to much of the nation, Utah’s vibrant economy has led to strength within its diverse industries.

  • Nearly all industries had employment gains from 2010 to 2011 with the largest gains in mining and natural resources (11.6%).
  • Construction employment is slated to grow 9.2% in 2013, an increase of 6,600 jobs.
  • At 8.1%, mining will be the second-fastest growing sector, adding 1,000 jobs.
  • Retail trade and administrative support will each add about 4,300 jobs.
  • Utah’s nonagricultural employment jumped an estimated 2.6 percent (30,300 jobs) between January 2011 and January 2012, compared with a national rate of 1.5 percent.

Employment Outlook

Utah’s job growth is expected to grow at 3.4%, just above the long-term average of 3.1%. This is much higher than the national average of 1.3%. The state’s unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 5.2%.

  • In 2011, Utah’s average annual nonfarm wage was $39,686, an increase of 2.2% from 2010.
  • Job growth in Utah will be twice the nation’s average
  • Personal income grew 3.2% during 2012.

A Dynamic Population

Utah is home to one of the nation’s most youthful states, which contributes to the state’s dynamic workforce, energy and productive lifestyle. Utah’s median age is the country’s youngest at 29.6, much lower than the national average of 37.3. Utah’s population growth rate continues to exceed that of the nation. In comparison to other states, Utah’s population is younger, women tend to have more children, households on average are larger, and people tend to live longer. All these factors lead to an age structure that is unique to Utah.

  • The State of Utah’s official July 1, 2011 population was estimated to be 2,813,923, an increase of 1.4% from 2010.
  • Utah ranked third among states in population growth with a rate of 1.5% from 2010 to 2011.
  • By 2060, Utah’s population is projected to be more than 6.84 million people. This equates to a 146 percent increase in the next 52 years.

Population by the Numbers

3rd: Population Growth Rate
1st: Fertility Rate
3rd: Life Expectancy
1st: Median Age

A Prepared Workforce

Utah’s top-tier economic performance and dynamism are driven by a highly productive workforce with strong fundamentals, which translates into an exceptional business climate. Governor Gary Herbert has made education a top priority of his administration, and is working with educators, business executives and community leaders to develop the next generation into a dynamic, educated workforce.

  • Utah’s graduation rate is above the national average.
  • Graduation rates have increased by 7 percent from 2008 to 2011.
  • Dropout rates have decreased by 8 percent from 2008 to 2011.
  • 20,449 students took 33,017 AP exams, passing at a rate of 68 percent.
  • Utah ranks No. 14 in educational attainment.
  • Approximately 90 percent of Utahns have earned at least a high school degree.
  • Utah has set a goal that of 66% of the workforce will hold an advanced training certificate or degree by 2020. Currently 43% of the population meets this standard.

Percent of Gross Domestic Product by Industry

…………………………………………..Utah         United States
Ag, Nat Res & Mining                         3.1%         3.0%
Construction                                         4.5%         3.5%
Manufacturing                                     12.6%       11.8%
Trade, Trans & Utilities                     16.5%       14.3%
Information                                          3.7%         4.6%
Financial Activities                           21.7%       21.3%
Pro & Bus Services                            10.5%       12.2%
Ed & Health Services                          7.3%          8.8%
Leisure & Hospitality                          3.2%          6.0%
Government                                         14.0%       12.8%
Other                                                       3.0%          2.4%



A Tech-Ready Workforce

Utah’s workforce is highly technologically proficient. The state consistently ranks at or near the top of states for technology use among its population. Utah ranked No. 4 in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) job growth, according to the U.S. Chamber.

  • Utah ranked No. 3 for entrepreneurship and innovation, according to the U.S. Chamber.
  • The University of Utah ranked first in 2010 and 2011 for the number of startups commercialized from technology developed by faculty at a U.S. university.
  • Utah is an early adopter of the public Smart School concept where schools are equipped with a managed wireless infrastructure and Apple iPads for every student and teacher.

Tech Spotlight

  • $6.9B annual tech payroll
  • 14.3% of Utah’s total payroll
  • 5,000 tech-focused companies in Utah
  • No. 1 in tech employment growth in Western region

(Source: Utah Technology Council)

A Multilingual Workforce

In an increasingly global economy, the unusually high level of multilingual capability in the state’s populace translates to a more flexible and capable workforce. Many Utahns have lived and worked abroad, which greatly enhances their ability to make an immediate contribution to the success of Utah-based companies and divisions that operate internationally.

  • Approximately 80 percent of students at Brigham Young University are multilingual.
  • University of Utah and BYU teach over 65 graduate level languages annually.
  • More than 130 languages are spoken in daily commerce in the state.

Right-to-Work State

Utah is one of 23 U.S. states operating under a right-to-work law. Union membership is low in Utah, with less than 6 percent of manufacturing employees affiliating with unions.

Utah’s Largest Employers

  • Intermountain Healthcare (Healthcare)
  • State of Utah State (Government)
  • Hill Air Force Base (Federal Government)
  • University of Utah Health Care (Healthcare)
  • Smith’s Food and Drug Centers (Grocery Store)
  • Brigham Young University (Higher Education)
  • University of Utah (Higher Education)
  • Larry H. Miller Group (Business and Properties)
  • Convergys Corporation (Telephone Call Center)
  • Wells Fargo Bank (Banking)
  • Zions Bank (Management Services Banking)
  • Rio Tinto, Kennecott Utah Copper (Copper Mine)
  • Autoliv ASP (Manufacturing)
  • Associated Food Stores (Grocery Warehouse)
  • The Sun Products Corporation (Household Products)
  • Discover Financial Services (Banking)
  • Maverik (Gas and Retail)
  • SkyWest (Airline)

Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services