December 24, 2013

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Article

Brookings Report Finds Slowing Economic Recovery in Utah

December 24, 2013

Brookings Mountain West’s latest Mountain Monitor report finds that the rate of recovery has slowed in the Intermountain West, although the region continues to outperform the national economy. Despite that slowed recovery, Utah’s metropolitan areas are faring better than cities in Colorado and Arizona.

The report states, “The region appeared to remain split at the close of the third quarter between those metro areas where the legacy of the Great Recession is fading steadily, such as Denver, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City, and places such as Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, and Tucson that were still struggling to regain their footing after a brutal once-in-a-generation economic shock.”

As a group, the Mountain West metro areas advanced on all four indicators of economic recovery tracked by the Monitor—employment, output, unemployment and house prices—but their progress was more restrained in the third quarter of 2013 than it was in the second.

Here’s how Utah’s major metropolitan areas looked at the end of third quarter 2013, according to Brookings Mountain West.

Ogden

The rate of job growth slowed considerably in Ogden from a 1.7 percent expansion in employment in the second quarter to a lower but still-strong 0.5 percent expansion in the third. Ogden’s output growth slowed similarly sharply, falling from 1.4 percent in the second quarter to 0.5 percent in the third. The unemployment rate declined in the third quarter by 0.2 percentage points to 4.6 percent. House prices continued to rise in Ogden in the third quarter but more slowly than in the second; this quarter’s 1.8 percent increase contributed to 6.2 percent growth over the year.

Provo

Provo enjoyed the fastest job growth among all of the nation’s large metro areas in the third quarter as employment expanded by 1.8 percent, up from 1.6 percent in the second quarter. The rate of output growth slowed slightly, by contrast, and fell from 0.6 percent in the second quarter to 0.5 percent in the third. Provo’s well-below-average unemployment rate fell further by 0.1 percentage points over the third quarter to 4.5 percent. House prices, meanwhile, increased by 3.0 percent—a slowdown over the second quarter but a strong performance compared to the 1.5 percent increase nationally.

Salt Lake City

The employment growth rate fell to 0.7 percent in Salt Lake City in the third quarter but remained faster than the national and regional averages. The rate of output growth slowed too, from a heady 1.6 percent in the second quarter to 0.9 percent in the third—which still counted as one of the fastest output expansions in the country. Salt Lake City ended the third quarter with the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.3 percent—down a slight 0.1 percentage point over the previous quarter. House prices increased by 3.0 percent over the quarter and by 9.9 percent over the year.

For more detailed information, including individual metro profiles with job and output information by industry and trendline graphics across each indicator, visit www.brookings.edu/metromonitor

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