Forging Ahead: A Regional Portrait of Utah’s Economy

Compiled by Heather Stewart

July 9, 2013

Click the image to the left to view a detailed portrait of both economic recovery and stagnation in Utah’s regions and counties.

This is what recovery looks like.

In the housing market, prices have been rising for at least 12 consecutive months. Salt Lake County saw its median sales price rise 19 percent from first quarter 2012 to first quarter 2013. Homebuilders are working again, with a strong 32 percent growth in new dwelling permits in Utah County from 2011 to 2012.

Employment in Utah is on a tear, with average employment growth well above 3 percent for most of early 2013. The state’s economy has added more than 32,600 jobs year over year. In fact, the only industry sector still losing jobs is government.

Tourism is booming, coming off of a stellar 2012-2013 winter season that many describe as the second-best season ever for the winter resorts.

But it’s not coming up roses in every corner of the state. The populous, urban counties are in a definite period of recovery, but the smaller, rural regions are still experiencing a very tepid, lackluster economy.

Central Utah saw declines of more than 50 percent in new dwelling permits in 2012—even with a population base that is still growing. Carbon, Garfield, Rich, San Juan and Tooele counties continue to shed jobs. And, in many of these counties, the government is the largest employment sector—and it’s the only sector still cutting back on employment.



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