Utah Leads Through Pandemic Recovery
September 10th, 2021
Update from NASL Member Jennifer Scott.
One of the economic success stories of the Covid-19 pandemic comes from the State of Utah, where a young population and a balanced pandemic response have contributed to a booming post-pandemic economy.
The state’s healthy rebound can be seen in its consistent GDP growth, low unemployment rate, a robust job market, and renowned business environment.
Forbes recently ranked Utah as the best performing economy of any state, not only for notching the highest GDP quarter in the state’s history, but for boasting a consistent track record of growth over twenty years. GDP in Utah is up 19.1 percent over the last five years, 36.6 percent in the last ten, and a jaw dropping 82 percent over 20 years.
GDP growth reflects value added through the creation of goods and services. A direct result of that record growth in Utah is record tax revenues, which were up by 8 percent. Only Idaho saw a greater increase.
In addition to GDP growth, Utah has an astonishingly low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent – which is actually similar to the state’s pre-pandemic levels. Only Nebraska is lower. Even with few available workers, the state’s job growth has been explosive. The Salt Lake Tribune reports there are now more jobs in six of Utah’s top 10 private sector industries than there were in 2019.
All of this success stems from a business environment that has long been recognized as second to none. WalletHub ranks Utah the second-best state to start a business based on 25 key indicators of startup success. Utah trails only red-hot Texas in the overall rankings. Furthermore, ALEC’s annual Rich States Poor States rankings have put Utah at the top of the list for economic outlook 14 years in a row.
States looking to grow their way out of an economically devastating pandemic would do well to study what’s working in Utah.