December 1, 2011

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Utah Ranks No. 1 Again

Sarah Ryther Francom

December 1, 2011

Utah’s business-friendly environment and innovative culture have again put Utah in the national spotlight. In its latest issue, Forbes ranked Utah as the No. 1 Best State for Business and Careers. This is the second time that the Beehive State has come out on top of this prestigious ranking.

The Best States for Business and Careers list examines six main economic indicators: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Utah was the clear winner, ranking in the top 15 of each category—the only state to do so—and taking the No. 1 overall position.

The Forbes article cites many of Utah’s economic strengths as the reasons for its first-place rank. For example, the article notes that Utah’s employment growth has averaged 0.6 percent during the past five years, much higher than the national average of negative 0.6 percent. The state’s projected job growth of 2.4 percent is the sixth best in the nation, and Utah’s unemployment rate—currently at 7.0 percent—has remained consistently lower than the national average. The report also cites Utah’s low energy costs, which are 31 percent lower than the national average. And Utah continues to have a low corporate tax rate of 5 percent. Visit to read the entire article and to see where other states line up.

The University of Utah also made national headlines as it was again ranked No. 1 in the nation at starting companies based on university research—outranking the likes of MIT, Columbia, Cornell and other major research institutions.

According to the Association of University Technology Managers, the U had 18 startups from July 1, 2009 to 2010. MIT, which ranked No. 2, had 17 startups. The U’s accomplishment is especially remarkable when considering its research spending was $450 million compared to MIT’s $1.4 billion research spending.

The U’s success story continues as it was able to secure 41 U.S. patents compared to the national average of 24. The university also collected 208 invention disclosures compared to the national average of 113. Finally, the U reported 287 active technology licenses compared to the national average of 210. It’s clear that the U’s Tech Venture Development department is doing something right.

Utah has a unique combination of solid business practices and an innovative culture that has led to sustained prosperity. It’s no surprise that companies ranging from Adobe to Procter & Gamble to Goldman Sachs have found a healthy home in the Beehive State.

Jack Brittain, vice president for Technology Venture Development at the University of Utah, sums up the state’s success: “We have a tremendous culture of innovation that makes Utah one of the friendliest places for inventors and entrepreneurs, and everyone in the state benefits from the resulting economic growth.”

As 2011 comes to a close, let’s celebrate Utah’s sound economic leadership and strategic business development approach, which are making Utah a better place for all of us.

From the Editor

Sarah Ryther Francom

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