April 10, 2014

Cover Story

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Rise to the Challenge

Examining the Threats and Weaknesses in Utah’s Economy

By Spencer Sutherland

April 10, 2014

“We’re trying to create centers for development,” says Samm Klemm, public information officer at the WFRC.  “We’re seeing a shift in housing toward condos, townhomes and apartments. Let’s build them next to the Trax and Frontrunner stops, along with businesses and shops, where they can act as a center.”

These centers allow people to use their cars less, which cuts down on pollution and also takes pressure off Utah’s roads. They also “act as a magnet for business,” Klemm says. “Adobe and eBay came here specifically to be close to a FrontRunner stop. That was a big selling point for them.”

Moving Forward

Despite a tough road ahead, there is no shortage of optimism. Gochnour points to Utah’s positive economic signs: the state ranks 11th in the nation for median household income and Salt Lake City ranks first in the country’s metropolitan areas for income equality.

Knowlton shares a similar outlook. “It’s not hard to be optimistic when talking about Utah’s economy. We’re one of the strongest economies in the region,” he says. “We are the No. 1 metro area in the U.S. for upward economic mobility. [That means] if you are born in the poorest 20 percent of households, you have the best chance of ending your life in the top 20 percent.”

He feels confident the state is poised to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

“There are struggles,” he admits. “But there is a spirit
of collaboration in Utah and a strong multi-sector, multi-agency grassroots-to-grasstops effort to solve these challenges.”  

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