West Valley City police close their investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, Utah’s suburban poverty rates are on the rise, and the group Mormon Building Bridges plans for a bigger presence in this year’s pride parade.
Poverty in US suburbs is on the rise, but especially in Utah. A new book released Monday shows that the number of people living in suburbs below the federal poverty line has more than doubled in three major metropolitan areas in Utah over an 11-year span. In fact, the Salt Lake City area ranked number 3 in the nation for fastest growth in suburban poverty.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding a program into Utah that is aimed at helping rural counties escape the grasp of persistent poverty.
The new StrikeForce Initiative brings together agencies within the USDA in an attempt to better coordinate efforts to spur economic development in rural counties. Dave Conine is the Rural Development state director. He says by making knowledge and resources available through things like micro-loans that they’ll be able to make a real difference.
At the bottom of the recession in 2009, Utah’s economy was losing jobs at the rate of six percent a year. A year later, the number of jobs was growing again, but slowly. Today, Utah is adding jobs at close to three percent annually and the state’s unemployment rate has dropped below six percent for the first time since 2008.
Residential and business construction was the hardest hit sector by far, and the Utah Foundation’s Morgan Lyon Cotti says it’s been among the slowest to recover.
In the second part of KUER’s series The Utah Priorities Project, Utah Foundation researchers take a look at poverty in Utah. It’s an issue that is new to the list of top ten issues identified by voters in a statewide survey, coming in at #9.
The recession is partly to blame for the number of people in Utah living in poverty. That total is significantly lower than the nation as a whole, but people living below the federal standard for poverty has continued to grow even as the state’s employment numbers have recovered over the past two years.
Utah is taking steps to help families break the cycle of poverty and dependence on public assistance. The Department of Workforce Services released a report Friday on poverty around the state. It’s the first in a series of annual reports mandated by the Utah Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act, passed this year in the legislature.