In 2017, the state approved Amazon for a post-performance incentive. One of the agreed performance metrics is an expected capital investment of $200 million. The project is anchoring the development of the state’s promising Northwest Quadrant near the Salt Lake International Airport. Also last year, Team Utah bid for Pluralsight to stick to its headquarter roots as it expands. The post-performance incentive agreement is expected to create approximately 2,400 jobs over the next decade.
Whether Utah is attracting an industry juggernaut or supporting a prized homegrown business, Team Utah understands what it takes to grow business and support the state economy. The secret to success lies in the “team”. A collaborative approach, led by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, unites communities with industry to produce results. Utah now leads the nation as a best performing economy and premier global business destination, and that trickles down to create an unmatched quality of life.
Photo Caption: Governor Herbert speaks at the 2013 grand opening of the eBay data center in South Jordan, Utah.
Not wanting to get too comfortable with its success, Utah will continue to work strategically to build a sustainable economy. The state’s economic representatives can enter business meetings and engage in recruitment and retention processes with a stellar score card and complete confidence. The Utah story of “business elevated” is one of which the state is rightfully proud. Here’s a sample:
Business-friendly tax climate, fiscal condition and regulation. The Tax Foundation ranked Utah No. 9 in the nation for its tax structure. The state’s corporate income tax rate of five percent also puts Utah at No. 8 nationally. The Mercatus Center ranked Utah the No. 4 Most Fiscally Sound State, and 24/7 Wall St. ranked Utah the No. 2 Best Run State. Governor Herbert’s charge has been to reduce regulation and empower the private sector to create a strong economy. Ask any company here–it shows in our climate.
Economic diversity. The Hachman Index quantifies the economic diversity of a state. The closer a score is to 100, the more diverse (and therefore more resilient) a state’s economy. Utah scores 97.9 or No. 1 in the nation, edging out Georgia and North Carolina. Team Utah understands that building a sustainable economy requires nurturing that diversity. Enter the state’s strategic economic cluster initiative. The industry clusters are characterized by workforce infrastructure, capital networks, trade associations, above-average salaries, as well as a significant mass of existing businesses in-state. The six clusters are aerospace and defense; energy and natural resources; financial services; life science; outdoor products and recreation; and software and IT.
Young and growing population. According to the U.S. Census, Utah is the third-fastest growing state in the U.S. Add to that the fact that the median age of 30.7 years makes Utah the youngest state in the country. In short, the state has a workforce for today and tomorrow. Programs such as the Utah STEM Action Center and Talent Ready Utah are working fervently to to align education and industry—as early as kindergarten. Utah’s rapid growth makes it a prime spot to grow a business.
Educated workforce. Not only is Utah’s workforce young and vibrant, but also educated. Almost half of Utahns—48 percent—between ages 25 and 64 have a college degree or certificate. Of those, 41 percent have an associate’s or more, higher than the national average of 38.8 percent. Utah ranks No. 14 in the nation for the percentage of the population 25 years or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. There are 12 higher education and technical institutions offering specialized programs.
Photo Caption: Workers in training at L-3 Communications in Utah.
Reasonable operation and labor costs. We know the number one question in deals of any size is likely to be “How much will it cost?” Utah has long made waves with its affordable cost of doing business. Utah ranks No. 5 among western states for affordable labor costs and No. 2 most competitive for operation costs. The operation cost ranking includes real estate costs, electricity, natural gas and construction. For example, Utah ranks No. 13 in the country for both industrial construction dollars per square foot ($106.16/sf) and commercial construction ($144.78/sf). In addition to all of this, at No. 7, Utah’s average worker’s compensation premium ($1.31 per $100 of wages) is among the nation’s lowest.
Transportation infrastructure. The “Crossroads of the West” has considerable and convenient rail, highway and air infrastructure. As of 2015, Salt Lake City International Airport (located a mere 10 minutes from downtown) offered 315 daily departures to 90 nonstop destinations, and finished fifth among mid-sized airports globally in on-time performance. When traveling on business, one spends less time in transit and on the tarmac, and more time on productive pursuits.
The airport has another terminal under construction to support increased travel and trade. U.S. News ranks Utah No. 2 overall for its transportation, including road quality, bridge quality and public transit usage. Also noteworthy: Utah’s average commute time of 21.3 minutes is the envy of metros across the country.
Broadband infrastructure. In an increasingly high-tech economic environment, broadband proves to be one of the most critical components of infrastructure. Thankfully, Utah is wired! The average connection speed (Mbps) statewide is 19.69, ranking us the fourth fastest in the country and No. 1 west of the Appalachians. These connections fuel high-tech industries ranging from aerospace to mining, especially those that rely on outposts in more remote areas. The state’s “Fastest in the West” Internet speeds have also opened doors for workforce development opportunities in rural Utah.
Impressive research and testing resources. Utah is home to Hill Air Force Base (HAFB), Utah Testing & Training Range (UTTR), Utah Unmanned Aerial Systems Testing Center (UASUtah), and Rapid Integration and Testing Center. The UTTR is the largest overland contiguous block of supersonic authorized restricted airspace in the lower 48 states. Utah State University has put more experiments into flight on shuttle and satellite missions than any other institution in the country. And that’s just aerospace. The 18,000 sq. ft. Utah Nanofab, housed at the University of Utah, is a critical player in life science innovation, becoming a global leader in the fabrication of biosensor chips, neural prosthetics and biomedical microfluidic systems. Did you know Utah is also home to the nation’s only electric roadway test track? The Electric Vehicle and Roadway (EVR) partners with a similar facility in Korea to stay at the forefront of electric vehicle technologies.
Critical mass of global companies. Industry leaders with operations in Utah include Boeing, Rio Tinto Kennecott, Procter and Gamble, Adobe, BD Medical, Orbital ATK, L-3 Communications, eBay, Dell EMC, sPower and Stadler Rail. In Utah, you’re in good company.
It’s clear that Utah scores high in any objective, aggregated view of business friendliness, workforce quality, operational costs and more. Team Utah certainly benefits from this track record when it comes to bringing more business to the state.
If any of these features interest you, the state is happy to discuss it further and welcomes your business to Utah.
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/utah_ed for local economic development office directory listings.
A composites manufacturing technician works at the Boeing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Copper production operations at Rio Tinto Kennecot in Utah.