The news is hard to miss: Utah is a consistently excellent and predictable place for business.
- Utah is the Forbes #1 state for business and careers for the fourth time in the last five years.
- Pollina Corporate’s “Top 10 Pro-Business States” study has ranked Utah #1 for three years running.
- Utah is the best place in the country for small business, according to the 2014 Thumbtack.com/Kauffman Foundation report.
- The Milken Institute’s 2014 State Tech and Science Index rankings place Utah as #5 overall. In addition, Utah captured the #1 spot in the Technology Concentration and Dynamism Composite category for the fourth straight year.
- Expansion Solutions Magazine named the National Security Administration’s Utah expansion as one of the top five data center projects of the year.
- From 2008 to 2013, Utah’s exports grew by 36 percent, which is double the U.S. average.
- According to Akamai, Utah’s broadband infrastructure is the 8th fastest in the country, and 2nd fastest in the western U.S.
- Utah is one of only nine states with a “AAA” bond rating from the nation’s three major credit rating agencies, and now Barron’s has given Utah the #3 spot in a 2014 ranking of state credit quality. Utah has maintained its AAA bond rating since the 1960s.
The Business Accolades are Balanced by Ones Associated with Quality of Life.
- Alternet.org named Utah the #1 happiest state, with job satisfaction high on the list of factors.
- A 2011 Centers for Disease Control study found that – at 9.1 percent – Utah is dead last (or perhaps live first is more accurate phrasing) in the percentage of adults who smoke. This is likely a factor in the state’s nation-leading low healthcare costs.
- The home of the Greatest Snow on Earth® is home to six of the top 30 ski resorts according to Ski Magazine’s readers. Eleven Utah resorts are within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake International Airport.
- Three Utah cities have been named on a list of the 50 best places to live in America. According to the list from 24/7 Wall Street, Orem is #30, Layton #29, and West Jordan #40.
- Park City was named “Best Town Ever” in Outside Magazine’s 2013 rankings, thanks in part to its hundreds of miles of trails and open space.
- The Provo-Orem area ranks first in the nation in a recent Healthways/Gallup study of well-being.
- Men’s Health named Salt Lake City as the #3 “Best places for exercise” in the nation.
- The Utah Transit Authority Was recently honored as the 2014 Outstanding Public Transportation System by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Public transportation and bike-friendly infrastructure abound.
- Utah is home to five iconic national parks and 43 stunning state parks.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is the business arm of the Governor’s Office, and is tasked with executing on Governor Gary R. Herbert’s vision that “Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination.” With education prioritized and an emphasis placed on innovation, entrepreneurship and investment, the State of Utah has ideally positioned itself to achieve its objectives.
Utah’s workforce is growing as a result of natural growth and in-migration. But it is also growing with the changing global economy. A concerted public-private effort is working to fill the demands of the state’s strongest “targeted” economic clusters, such as IT, Life Sciences, and Aerospace and Defense.
Utah’s workforce is among the best educated and youngest in the country. The state’s partnership with the private sector around education, including the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership, encourages effective and efficient collaboration among industry, government and all levels of education to prepare Utahns to meet the demands of the future economy.
A spirit of self-determination means Utah will always endeavor to look for the best solutions for its own problems. As Governor Herbert recently said, “Utah continues to outpace what has become the ‘new normal’ across the nation. In a time of mounting national uncertainty, Utah stands out as a stark reminder that principle-based governance and a business-friendly atmosphere yield the greatest economic prosperity.”
Such confidence encourages businesses – and families – to grow in Utah. Investment in infrastructure like transportation and broadband supports business growth, and Utah’s highly-regarded regulatory climate and business-friendliness provides an ideal environment for companies to operate in.
To encourage competitive growth, Utah’s corporate recruitment incentives since 2006 have created more than 12,000 high-paying, high-quality jobs throughout the state. IM Flash, eBay, Adobe, Proctor and Gamble, ATK and Boeing are just a few of the global brands that call Utah home, thanks in part to incentives.
Since Utah’s incentive program is post-performance, tax credits are not issued until after new jobs are created, tax revenue is collected and capital investments are made. It’s a prudent approach in keeping with the state’s fiscally conservative nature.
Continual recruitment and business marketing are helping ensure a pipeline of new projects in the coming years. From Pepperidge Farm in Logan to Family Dollar in St. George, major expansions and growth are driving Utah’s economy, and employing Utah’s construction firms, contractors and local industry leaders at increasing levels. Everywhere in between includes Utah’s vibrant Wasatch Front corridor, where increasing housing demand is keeping pace with increased business activity.
Connecting it all is the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT) recently completed $1.7 billion 1-15 freeway improvement through Utah County. Supplementing the road system is a comprehensive and convenient light rail system.
When the National Security Agency’s turned to Utah for the abundance of reliable and responsible energy resources to help power its one million square foot, $1 billion-plus data center in Bluffdale, it also brought thousands much needed construction jobs.
What these projects point to is the ability of Utah to meet the needs of the world’s most demanding industries, from the biggest data of them all with the NSA project to the resource-intension manufacture of carbon fiber at Hexcel, Janicki, and Exelis.
Utah has shown the resilience to meet the challenges of a downturn and the energy to take advantage of new growth opportunities. Utah’s business community and workforce have shown the fortitude and innovative spirit necessary to carry the state into a future that holds the promise of continued growth. GOED along with its private sector partner, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, have a pipeline of businesses that are considering expansion and capital investment and that have Utah on their short list of places to grow.
Utah continues to shine as the brightest star on the flag: business costs; labor supply; regulatory environment; economic climate; growth prospects; and quality of life.
For more information visit Business.Utah.Gov.
Visit ExpansionSolutionsMagazine.com/utah_ed for local economic development office directory listings.