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Utah Economy Motors Forward

Utah Economic Review
Data from the annual Utah Economic Review.

A comprehensive new report on Utah’s economy says business is doing well at the beginning of 2015, and that bodes well for workers, too.

Utah’s job growth was 3 percent last year. And the unemployment rate remains well below the national average at 3.6 percent. The Utah Economic Council delivered the good news Friday.

“We basically helped the governor and business leaders understand that we’re very favorably positioned right now in Utah,” says Natalie Gochnour, associate dean of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and the economic council’s co-chair. “This is an economy that is serving our state very well.”

The council gathered data from government agencies, universities and the business community. It analyzed information on tourism, construction, mining and energy production. Businesses getting a boost from $1 billion in venture capital. Gochnour says healthy businesses set the stage for long-awaited wage increases for workers.

A new section in this year’s report tracks intergenerational poverty.

“We have economic growth in our state but we have thousands of families in our state living in intergenerational poverty,” says Gochnour. “And these children get caught up in a cycle of poverty and welfare and dependency, and we don’t capture their human potential to contribute to our economy.”

Challenges to Utah’s economic growth include congressional gridlock and, potentially, low petroleum prices.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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