Research Group: Utah an Economic 'Rock Star'

Nov 29, 2012

A new report finds Western states grew more jobs at nearly double the rate of the rest of the nation over the last four decades—and the access to high-quality outdoor opportunities on public lands is a factor driving that growth. Ben Alexander with Headwaters Economics says their new “West is Best” report finds almost all of the job growth in Western States has been in the high-wage service industry, and he says Utah is leading the pack.

"Higher-wage services industries that are able to capitalize in part on the incredible quality of life in Utah, which is closely tied to public lands there. Utah is a 'rock star': No. 3 population growth in the last decade, No. 1 employment growth in the last decade, and No. 8 in the growth of personal income in the last decade."

Alexander says, increasingly, local Chambers of Commerce and economic development associations are using national parks and public lands as tools to lure companies to relocate to the West. According to the report, employment grew in the West by 152 percent compared to only 78 percent for the rest of the country from 1970 through 2010.