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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wall Street Journal Explains Why Utah Is Attractive To Business

The Wall Street Journal has this interesting article describing Utah and its business climate, and why we are weathering the recession better than many states.

The article also looks at why so many companies are relocating to Utah. Below are excerpts.

"Utah's leaders understand a simple truth: As businesses go, so goes Utah," said Brad Rencher, general manager of Adobe's Omniture unit, which is undergoing the expansion in Lehi for a variety of other reasons and is currently located in Orem.

Mr. Herbert said the state seeks to attract businesses by offering money incentives and better support from local universities. The University of Utah, for instance, a year ago put in five new engineering master's programs to help meet demand for workers in Utah's growing industry for medical devices, said Taylor Randall, dean of its business school.

The initiatives are helping to fuel the state's job growth. In October, Utah gained 16,500 jobs, up 1.4% from a year earlier and its third straight month of year-over-year gains, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That outpaces the rest of the nation, where job growth averaged 0.5% in October. Indeed, Utah was the fastest-growing state in job growth across the Intermountain West, which excludes West Coast states, Alaska and Hawaii. Utah also is among the fastest nationally, trailing only a few states such as New Hampshire and Texas, according to BLS figures.

Economists say Utah's performance will likely help the Intermountain West region regain its standing as one of the nation's fastest-growing areas. "If you look at the next 10 years, the mountain West will very likely be a leader in employment and population growth," said Jeff Thredgold, economic consultant to Salt Lake City's Zions Bancorporation.

Still, out-of-state employers said they are impressed by the state's pro-business strategy. "Utah is one of the most aggressive states in working with the business community to understand what matters to them," said Keyvan Esfarjani, co-executive officer of IM Flash. The company has grown its work force in the state to 1,500 since opening a fabrication plant in Lehi five years ago; it plans to hire at least 250 more in the fiscal year that ends next August.

"More so than any incentives," Mr. Esfarjani added, "what makes Utah attractive to business is the state's stable, predictable regulatory and tax environment."

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