utah economyIt isn’t new news — Utah has outpaced the country in economic expansion since 2010. But why? What is fueling our economic growth?

One key element: population growth. Utah has clocked the fastest-growing population of any U.S. state from 2010 through June 2018, and logged the highest birth rate among states again last year. Utah also had strong rates of migration from other states and countries, with almost half our population growth coming from people moving in.

Moreover, Utah has had the fastest-growing labor force of any U.S. state since January 2010—a key ingredient for economic growth and one that provides “an example for the nation as a whole” as it seeks to fuel a more rapid expansion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

So how does this create the perfect breeding ground for economic wealth? Let’s take a look at the 5 main factors contributing to Utah’s booming economy:

Job Growth

Jobs in the Beehive State are plentiful and economic expansion is on a historic roll. Last month, employment in Utah grew by an estimated 3%, adding 45,900 jobs to our economy (since August 2018), according to the latest research from the National Association of Realtors. Utah currently leads the nation (tied with Nevada) for the strongest job growth (year-over-year). “Job growth remains as one of the nation’s best, and that growth’s scope is extensive across the spectrum,” reported Mark Knold, Senior Economist at the Department of Workforce Services. Another big draw for employers is Utah’s relatively well-educated labor pool, which has helped nurture a blossoming tech sector.

Tech Scene

Utah ranks as one of the fastest-growing states for tech jobs. With more than 6,500 tech companies calling Silicon Slopes home, our community’s job growth is twice the average compared to other industries in the state. Massive property and tax incentives have helped to attract companies like Adobe, Microsoft, eBay and Facebook to the Beehive State. Utah is also home to SheTech, the nation’s largest industry-led STEM program for girls, securing future growth and establishing Utah as a leader in the industry.

Diversity and Population Growth

Utah’s population continues to diversify racially and ethnically. There’s a growing ethnic and minority population that enhances and contributes to the many benefits of working and living here — and has been for decades. According to the latest Kem Gardner projection, 1 out of 5 people are of a diverse background, with Hispanics representing the largest increase with 850,000 new Utah residents from 2015 to 2065, reaching 1.3 million. Utah’s population is projected to be over 35% ethnically diverse by 2065 (20% in 2015).

Consumer Spending

With population and labor force growth comes a boost in consumer spending. Utah’s labor force has grown an average of 1.9% a year from 2010 through January 2018, more than triple the nation’s 0.6% pace, according to Labor Department data. More workers means more output, income and consumer spending. These trends, in turn, attract more employers and workers, fueling a continued cycle of growth. Utah’s spending on cars, clothing, education and the arts are all climbing faster than the rest of the nation’s — as are home prices.

Cost and Quality of Living

Benefits like a healthy work-life balance with plenty of easy access to the great outdoors and low cost of living and affordable housing (compared to other tech hubs like San Francisco and Portland) are attracting an increasing number of millennial job-seekers to the state. Salt Lake is also one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the nation, and offers vibrant nightlife, art, film and food scenes that are becoming much more visible and attractive to this new generation of homebuyers. And, if you’re in the city, you’re only 30 minutes away from at least 4 ski resorts (did we mention we have the greatest snow on Earth?)

Utah’s booming economy is still taking shape and continually pushing boundaries. Creating opportunities for continued growth and positive change while championing diversity will foster an economic-rich environment for our community to thrive in. As we continue to build cultures of acceptance and embracing diversity in leadership with the changing face of our state, Utah will not only compete with any big market, but lead the way. “Utah is a lesson to the rest of the country that demographics are quite important,” said Harvard University professor Dale Jorgenson.

Forecast: the state is poised to maintain its strong pace of growth and development for the foreseeable future!