According to Doug Clark, who works for the Governors Office of Economic Development (GOED), Utah as a whole ranks first as the most economically competitive state in the nation.
“We’re also considered one of the best managed states in the country,” he said. “Reason being is the things we can control.
“Government spending and managing business opportunities, among other things, have taught us that what we can control monetarily, we’re doing well at.”
Clark also mentioned that the state, contrary to popular belief, is not in recession mode.
“In order to be in a real recession, the state has to have two consecutive quarters of recorded losses,” he said. “So far it’s been an up and down year for the state, and (Utah) hasn’t had two consecutive quarterly losses thus far.”
There’s even some good news for Davis County. Clark mentioned that business areas in Davis County are built out roughly 95 percent, and that Syracuse is starting to boom with a 60 percent increase in property value in just 18 months time.
“The Davis County area is a huge hot spot for businesses and homes right now,” he stated. “That county may only be able to build another five or 10 percent and that’s it.
“But it shows that even though other parts of the state may be struggling, (Davis) County is doing just fine.”
Military funding has also helped the local economy. Falcon Hill, once completed, will create more than 15,000 jobs. Hill Air Force Base is also being considered a candidate for a U.S. Cyber Command Center, which will create more job opportunities if it goes to the state.
However, a weakening job growth followed by the state’s “lagging trend” have led to some of the bad news.
“We’re starting to skid to a halt,” said Clark. “Job growth is at it weakest state yet, and many of the markets that were booming even a year or two ago are now starting to even out or fall behind.”
He used the construction, as well as natural mining and resources markets as an example of what he stated was a “partial recession”. In the 2006-2007 fiscal year, job growth for those industries was 11.9 and 11.2 percent respectively.
Fast forward to today, and those numbers are the opposite. As of September, resources and mining fell to 6.5 percent growth, while construction is experiencing an overall negative growth of 12.5 percent.
“There are a lot of things going good and bad for the state right now,” he said. “The overall message, though, is that we’re doing all the right things to stay ahead of the curve right now.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the rest of the fiscal year.”