Wall Street Journal explores Utah’s economic success amid downturn

during a gala at City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News

As other states struggle to balance budgets and pay liabilities during hard economic times, Utah has managed to stay strong amid the chaos.

It’s Utah’s industrious, youthful workforce and a business-friendly 5 percent tax rate that helps the state dodge the national economic downturn, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

“The overriding factor working in our favor is that Utah is seen as an island of stability in a chaotic context,” Jeff Edwards, head of the state’s Economic Development Corporation, told the Wall Street Journal. “The companies we talk to with money to invest are asking themselves where to go. If you invest in Utah, you know what you’re going to get.”

Utah’s unemployment rate sits at 6 percent, which is 2.2 percentage points below the nation. The state’s $96.6 billion total personal income and $40,000 average annual pay are both rising.

Utah’s ability to keep its house in order has also helped the state dodge the economic crisis, according to the article.

“We have eliminated all structural imbalances in our budget,” Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, told the Wall Street Journal. “In the first two years of the downturn, we cut two billion dollars out of the budget. We did it by eliminating programs and cutting the size and staffing of government down to 2000 levels.”

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