Archive for the ‘UTAH’S ECONOMY REPORT’ Category:

Aug
4
Utah’s Economy: Retail Sales Hit All-Time High in 2015

utah economy

Utah closed 2015 with a total $27.8 billion in retail sales. The previous record (inflation adjusted) of $27.6 billion was set in 2007, closing out that year alongside the beginning of the 2007/2008 financial crisis. Retail sales had reached unsustainable levels, due in part by easy credit, which had been facilitated by rapid rising housing prices and the willingness of households to take on excessive levels of debt.

Aug
3
Utah’s Economy: Recovery of Utah’s Construction Sector, 2010-2015

utah econ

By 2010, the financial crisis had pushed construction spending down in Utah’s economy to a twenty-year low of $3.5 billion—the bottom of the cycle’s trough. Since then, the construction industry has had five consecutive years of expansion Figure 1. The first two years saw rather tepid growth, but in the following three, construction value increased at an impressive annual rate of nearly twenty percent. In 2015, the value of Utah’s permit-authorized construction reached $6.9 billion, the fourth highest year ever.

May
17
Utah’s Economy: What Makes Utah a High Growth State

utah econ

After what looked like a trend toward lower levels of job growth in 2014, Utah’s economy caught a second wind in 2015, increasing its number of jobs by nearly 50,000. The positive momentum has also carried into 2016. March’s 3.3 percent increase was the fifteenth consecutive month of job growth beyond Utah’s long-term rate. From 1954-2015, the average annual growth rate for non-farm employment in Utah was 3.17 percent – a record very few states can match. Only Nevada, Arizona, and Florida have higher long-term rates; and only one state, Idaho, outperformed Utah in 2015 (4.1 percent increases vs. Utah’s 3.6 percent).

Apr
25
Utah’s Economy: Employment and Population Centers in Salt Lake and Utah Counties

utecon

A few years ago, University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research (now a part of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute) reported on Salt Lake County’s employment center, and its geographic proximity to the county’s population center. Demographic mean centers are important for understanding current market conditions and trends. They can be visualized as the center of gravity a waiter focuses her/his fingers to balance a tray of food – the edge of the tray represents the market’s boundaries; the waiter’s fingers represent its population densities; and the food balanced on the tray are the market’s jobs, given equal weight throughout.

Mar
21
Utah’s Economy: Nonresidential Construction – Murray to American Fork

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Last year was a surprisingly strong year for nonresidential construction in Utah. The value of permit authorized, nonresidential construction was up 37 percent, to $2.0 billion, the fourth highest year ever. But the 2015 value does carry an asterisk – the unexpected surge in nonresidential value was due in part to a pair of large energy related projects. The $216 million expansion of Holly Frontier’s oil refinery, in Davis County, was the single largest nonresidential project in 2015, doubling its daily capacity from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels. Solar farms in Beaver and Iron Counties also added another $200 million in nonresidential value. These large energy projects were reported as industrial construction and helped drive the value of this sector to a near record level. In 2015, industrial construction totaled $485.1 million, just below the 2007′s all-time high of $497 million (inflated adjusted).

Mar
10
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Major Economic Indicators

utseconomy

The January release of the Utah Economic Council’s 2016 Utah Economic Report to the Governor is Utah’s best source for understanding the state’s current and upcoming economic conditions. Twelve major economic indicators included in the report reveal Utah’ economy enjoyed a very good year during 2015 and will likely enjoy a solid year of growth through 2016.

The following narrative provides context and analysis of the change underlying some of the most important indicators.

Feb
9
Utah’s Economy: Apartment Boom in Salt Lake City & Select, Statewide Economic Activity

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Twenty-one apartment projects, totaling 4,805 units are currently under construction in Salt Lake County.

Eleven (2,217 units) are in Salt Lake City and 10 (2,588 units) are located in suburban Salt Lake County – all projects will be completed and start leasing units over the next 12 to 18 months.

Between September and November 2015, 12 large apartment projects completed construction and began leasing – 956 of the total 2,283 new units were leased by the end of November, leaving 1,327 units yet to be leased.

Oct
26
Utah’s Economy: A Brief Look at Job Growth in Two of Utah’s Fastest Growing Counties

utecon

Both Utah and Washington Counties have had exceptional job growth over the past several years. Seldom does a county achieve double-digit growth in employment, but for three consecutive years (2004-2006) prior to the Great Recession, Washington County’s job market averaged 10 percent growth. At the time, Washington County had a labor market of 50,000 jobs. That level of growth is extraordinary, even for a county with a small employment base. No other major county in Utah’s history has had a similar period of sustained, high level job growth.

Sep
29
Utah’s Economy: Jobs and Utah’s Hot Office Market

utecon

Over the past six months, (since February) Utah has led the country in job growth, reporting employment increases of 4.0 percent or more. July had the largest increase of 4.5 percent 59,100 additional jobs – an all-time monthly high, Figure 1. Three sectors leading job growth are 1) leisure and hospitality, 2) professional and business services, and 3) health services and private education, Table 1. These three sectors account for 60 percent of the job growth in Utah over the past year. Their growth has had a substantial impact on the level of nonresidential construction particularly new office construction.

Jul
23
Utah’s Economy: Housing Prices and Job Growth Accelerate in the Second Quarter

New Picture

Housing price increases have accelerated over the past year. In the third quarter of 2014 the statewide price increase was 2.3 percent, followed by 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, 5.0 percent in the first quarter of 2015 and 7.9 percent in the second quarter. Among the five major counties Weber County leads with a gain of 13.5 percent in the second quarter. Weber County’s affordable housing has attracted more buyers – home sales were up 25 percent in the second quarter – pushing up prices. Despite the sizeable recent price jump, home prices in WEber County are far below prices in the the other major counties and the statewide median. In the second quarter of 2015 Weber County’s median sale price was 25 percent below the statewide median.

Jun
19
Utah’s Economy: Retail Sales Near Full Recovery

New Picture

In retrospect the surge in retail sales during the 2004-2007 period should have been a warning that not all was well with the household balance sheet. Over three years retail sales increased 20 percent, far out pacing wage increases. Debt fueled the historic increases in Utah’s retail sales and as the recession deepened retail sales retreated by 20 percent, wiping out the unsustainable pre-recession gains. By 2010 retail sales in Utah had fallen back to inflation adjusted 2004 levels.

May
22
Utah’s Economy: Dissecting Utah’s Demographic Growth

utah econ

Utah is well known for its demographic growth. For decades the state has been one of the fastest growing states in the country. And when compared to the 11 western states Utah ranks near the top. From 2010 to 2014 the population of Utah increased by 6.5 percent, tied with Colorado for the most rapidly growing western state during the economic recovery. Utah’s demographic growth however is unique. In Utah demographic growth is largely driven by natural increase (birth minus deaths) not net in-migration, a well-worn observation. Natural increase and net migration are the two components of population change.

Apr
16
Utah’s Economy: Trends and Forecast for Utah’s Construction Sector

utecon

By far the most volatile employment sector over the last several years has been Utah’s Construction sector. In 2003 there were 67,000 construction jobs in the Utah economy, four years later employment had grown by 56 percent to 103,500. But this amazing run-up in employment was followed by three consecutive years of job losses which wiped out all the previous gains. Construction jobs fell by 38 percent from 2008 to 2010 in the most severe employment contraction of any sector in the Utah economy since the Great Depression.

Mar
25
Utah’s Economy: Year End 2014 Estimates and 2015 Forecast

utahecon

The 2015 forecast for the Utah economy was developed recently by the state’s Revenue Assumption Working Group. The forecast shows increases for every major economic indicator. The number of jobs is forecast to grow by 2.8 percent, or an increase of 37,200 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 3.4 percent, suggesting labor shortages for some industries and occupations. Auto and truck sales are expected to hit an all-time high of 118,300 vehicles. New permit authorized non-residential construction will increase to $1.4 billion, but will still be slightly below the average historic value of $1.5 billion (excludes renovation and rehab). And the number of permits issued for residential construction will reach 18,000 units, the highest level in eight years. Residential permits peaked in 2005 at 28, 285 housing units, a level unlikely to be exceeded for some time.

Feb
23
Utah’s Economy: Venture Capital and High Tech Employment in Utah

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Utah’s 2015 Economic Report to the Governor was released in early January. It’s the twenty-seventh year of the publication, which is a collaboration between the Utah Economic Council, Salt Lake Chamber, David Eccles School of Business and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The 138 page document provides a 2015 economic outlook for Utah, a review of the performance of major economic indicators, and an analysis of key industries.

Jan
13
Utah’s Economy: Status of Utah’s Economic Recovery

New Picture

In the summer of 2008 the number of jobs in Utah peaked at 1.26 million; an all-time high. What followed has been well documented: a loss of 70,000 jobs in two years and an unemployment rate spiking to 8.0%; the highest level since the 1930s Depression. Six percent of the jobs in the Utah labor market vanished over 24 months. It took a little over four years for the Utah labor market to get back to its pre-recession employment level. By the fourth quarter of 2012 the number of jobs in Utah exceeded the pre-recession peak. A side note, if the Great Recession could have been avoided and Utah had average rates of job growth during 2008-2011 period the number of jobs in 2014 would likely be about 13% higher – 175,000 jobs.

Dec
19
Utah’s Economy: What’s Happened to Housing Demand?

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From 1970 to 2010 the number of households in Utah increased at an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent. This rat of growth nearly matches the average annual increase in the inventory of occupied housing units in Utah of 2.7 percent. Long-term, the increase in households equals or nearly equals the increase in occupied housing units. Of course, in the short-term, annual increases may vary significantly from the long-term trend. For example, in 1977 new residential construction increased the housing inventory by almost six percent in a single year. And the years on either side of 1977 also had very high rates of new construction. This overbuilding in the lat 1970s contributed, in part, to several years of below average home building the 1980s and very weak housing prices. Over the 1980s housing prices in Utah increase by only 15 percent compared to 60 percent nationally.

Oct
27
Utah’s Economy: The Great Recession and Retail Sales in Utah

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In retrospect, the rapid run-up in retail sales in Utah prior to the Great Recession was evidence of the growing debt load of Utah households. At the time, increases in retail sales were far outstripping gains in wages or incomes. The nearly $6 billion increase in retail sales in four years (2003-2007) was financed in large part by generous lenders extending credit to Utah households. Household debt exploded between 2000 and 2007. Nationally household debt jumped from $7 trillion to $14 trillion during this seven year period. It is safe to assume that Utah households participated in like manner and doubled their debt prior to the recession. Using all manner of credit – revolving credit, installment loans, lines of credit, and home equity loans – households financed higher standards of living and pushed retail sales to an all-time high in Utah of $27 billion in 2007.

Oct
17
Utah’s Economy: Oil Boom in the Basin

2utecon

The discovery of oil in Utah dates back to 1850 when Captain Howard Stansbury found evidence of oil while surveying the north shore of the Great Salt Lake. Over the next 100 years there were many other discoveries of minor oil seeps, along with wildcat drilling, from Green River (1891), to Mexican Hat (1909), Moab (1925), and north end of Redwood Road (1926), but no major discoveries were made until 1948. Equity Oil Company of Utah struck oil in 1948 in the Uintah Basin (Duchesne and Uintah Counties) in the are now known as the Greater Altamont/Bluebell field.

Aug
26
Utah’s Economy: Mid-Year 2014

2utecon

Broad-Based Economic Growth – All major employment sectors of the Utah economy have grown in the past 12 months, with the exception of federal government employment which is unchanged. In May employment growth in Utah was 2.9 percent, an increase of 37,400 jobs. Year-over May employment in Utah’s construction sector increased by 7.3 percent, adding 5,400 jobs. Construction was the top ranked sector in terms of percent change and also ranked first among all major sectors in numeric change. The 3.2 percent increase in manufacturing (3,800 jobs) is encouraging. The growth in health services has slowed to only 2.5 percent.

Aug
5
Utah’s Economy: Retail Sales Recovery

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Retail sales in Utah are slowly recovering. Sales peaked at almost $30 billion in 2007, then plummeted over the next 24 months by $8 billion – a 25 percent decline. The contraction was led by the collapse of auto and truck sales, which dropped from an all-time high of 115,000 vehicles in 2007 to 66,000 in 2009. fittingly, it is auto and truck sales that are leading the recovery. This year auto and truck sales are expected to hit 113,000 vehicles with a value of $5.6 billion. Vehicle sales typically account for about 20 percent of all retail sales in Utah. General merchandise captured nearly 25 percent of all sales in 2013.

Aug
5
Utah’s Economy: Prices, Income and Purchasing Power in Utah

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How does the cost of living in Utah compare to other states? This is an often asked question with no official answer. But now “for the first time…businesses considering relocating or establishing new plants have a comprehensive and consistent measure of differences in the cost of living and the purchasing power of consumers nationwide.” This quote is from a press release of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Department of Commerce April 24, 2014. The BEA has developed regional price parities (RPPs) which measure geographic differences in the price levels of consumption of goods and services relative to the national average. That is, RPPs measure the differences in the price levels of goods and services across states and metropolitan areas.

Apr
23
Utah’s Economy: Salt Lake County by the Numbers 2000-2013

From 2000 to 2013, the Salt Lake County economy faced not only the worst three years (2008-2011) since the Great Depression, but also three of the strongest years of economic growth in recent history (2004-2007). The tables below give a statistical history of this volatile period beginning with a snapshot of the Salt Lake County and Utah economy in 2013.

Mar
24
Utah’s Economy: Expansion of the Salt Lake International Airport

The expansion of the Salt Lake International Airport will be one of the largest construction projects in Utah’s history. The 10 year project has an estimated cost of $1.8 billion. Big-D Construction/Holder Construction was awarded the construction contract in October 2013.

Feb
14
Utah’s Economy: Year-End and 2014 Forecast

The forecast for the Utah economy in 2014 was developed recently by the state’s Revenue Assumption Work Group. The forecast shows increases for every major economic indicator. The number of jobs is forecasted to grow by 3.1 percent or an increase of 40,000. Auto and truck sales are expected to hit an all-time high, as are exports.

Dec
9
Utah’s Economy: Needed – More Apartment Construction

Demand is up but supply is down in Utah’s apartment market. Vacancy rates are below 5% and rental rates have increased more than 10% in the past two years.

Nov
6
Utah’s Economy: Slowdown in Economic Growth

In the past few months, the rate of growth in the Utah Economy unexpectedly slowed down.

In three of the last four months, employment growth dropped below 3 percent. For 16 consecutive months (January 2012 through April 2013) employment growth was between 3 and 4 percent.

State Tax revenues slowed to a 1.9 percent first quarter increase while motor fuel taxes and fees fell 9.3 percent.

Oct
22
Utah’s Economy: Trends at Utah’s Universities and Colleges

Trends at Utah's Universities and CollegesOver the past 10 years, tuition at nearly every university and college in the state has doubled. The only exceptions are the College of Eastern Utah and Brigham Young University. This rapid increase in tuition costs is a serious issue, not only for students and their families, but also for the local and national economies. For most of the postwar period, higher education was made very affordable by the G.I. Bill, land-grant universities and junior colleges. The affordability of a college education played a major role in the increased level of educational attainment of Americans and the subsequent vast improvement in wages and the standards of living. Given the threat of rising tuition costs and the importance of higher education to our standard of living, it’s worth looking at recent trends in Utah’s higher education system.

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Sep
6
Utah’s Economy: Some Changes in the Structure of the Utah Economy

Utah's Economy- Some Changes in the Structure of the Utah EconomyFor more than 20 years Intermountain Healthcare, Brigham Young University (BYU), Delta Airlines, Smith’s Food and Drug and Thiokol (Autoliv) have been among the largest private sector employers in Utah. This consistency has not extended to Utah’s software industry. WordPerfect was a major employer in 1990 but in 2012 there were no software companies among the top 15 employers in the state nor were there any utility companies. In 1990 two utilities, Pacificorp and U.S. West (Century Link) were among the largest employers in the state. Both had less employment in 2012 than in 1990. Also the retail sector had some major turnover with ZCMI, K-Mart, Albertson’s and Sears being replaced by Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Harmon’s and Costco. Wal-Mart appeared on the list of major employers in 2000 with 6,500 employees. By 2012 Wal-Mart’s employment had nearly tripled to 17,500. Thus Wal-Mart became part of a triumvirate of employers, along with Intermountain Healthcare and BYU, whose employment far exceeds the level of other major companies.

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Aug
7
Utah’s Economy: Miscellaneous Notes on the Utah Economy

Utah's Economy- Miscellaneous Notes on the Utah EconomyOne of the most important developments in the last few months for Utah’s real estate and home building industries is the sharp drop in foreclosure sales. otherwise known as REO sales (“real estate owned” by financial institution). The number of REO sales have dropped by 65 percent in the Wasatch Front Counties. In the second quarter of 2012 REO sales totaled 668 homes compared to only 236 homes in the second quarter of 2013. In 2012 REO sales amounted to 11.2 percent of all single-family homes sold in the Wasatch Front Counties. That share has fallen to 3.3 percent in 2013. The reduced share of distressed homes on the market is one reason housing prices have risen so rapidly and for the home-builder the removal of discounted REO homes from the market make new homes much more price competitive. Builders simply could not compete with the discounted prices on foreclosed homes.

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Jun
5
Utah’s Economy: Mid-Year Forecast for 2013

Utah's Economy- Mid-Year Forecast for 2013
The most recent forecast for the Utah economy was completed in May 2013 by the Utah Revenue Assumptions Working Group. This forecast is used by the Governor’s Office and Management and Budget Office to develop the Governor’s budget recommendations. Only two major indicators are expected to decline in 2013; exports and the value of nonresidential construction. The most important indicator, employment, is forecast to grow by 42,400 jobs in 2013 and increase by another 46,400 jobs in 2014.

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Mar
28
Utah’s Economy: The Recovery in Home Building, Sales and Prices

Utah's Economy- The Recovery in Home Building, Sales and Prices
After five years of the worst housing market since the Great Depression, home building is finally recovering. In 2012 residential building permits (single family and multifamily) were up 34 percent. In Salt Lake County the number of permits was up 27 percent, Utah County 34 percent and Davis County nearly 80 percent. Detached single-family permit activity was even stronger with a 42 percent increase statewide. Home builders are very optimistic about the spring and summer markets. In three major counties; Davis, Utah and Washington single-family building activity was up more than 50 percent in 2012.

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Jan
24
Utah’s Economy: How Goes the Recovery?

Utah's Economy- How Goes the Recovery
Utah’s economic recovery has been underway for two years. Some sectors finished very strong in 2012. Employment for the year was up 3.3 percent, an increase of 40,000 jobs. New auto and truck sales were up 17 percent and single-family home construction up over 30 percent. All very welcome news. At this point in the recovery it is worthwhile to broaden the comparisons from year-over to a longer perspective; back to the pre-recession peak of 2007 to get a sense of just how far the recovery has come.

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Nov
20
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Housing Recovery

Utah's Housing Recovery

Finally, Utah’s longest home building contraction appears to have run its course. For seven consecutive years the number of new residential units built in Utah declined; falling from a high of 28,300 units in 2005 to a low of 8,600 units in 2011. Prior to this downturn the weakest period for the home building industry was the five-year contractions from 1978 through 1982. Housing cycles seem as inevitable as the seasons leaving only questions of duration and amplitude. The last severe housing bust in the 1980s was followed with a seven year expansion running from 1989 through 1996. during these years the number of residential building permits nearly tripled.
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Oct
23
Utah’s Economy: Retail Sales Growth Drives Higher Tax Revenues

Utah's Economy- Retail Sales Growth Drives Higher Tax Revenues
One of the most important economic indicators of the Utah economy is state tax revenues. And these revenues continue to show an impressive rebound from the recession, providing evidence of Utah’s relatively strong recovery. After a 24 percent drop from 2007 to 2010, revenues have increased nicely in the past two years. To be fair, not the entire $1.4 billion drop in revenues was due to the recession. There were several hundred million in tax cuts due to reduction in both sales and income tax rates in the 2007 omnibus tax bill.

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Sep
17
Utah’s Economy: Recent Economic News – Employment, Construction and Housing Prices

Utah's Economy- Recent Economic News - Employment, Construction and Housing Prices
Employment – Utah has had 25 consecutive months of job gains. In July 2012 employment growth was 2.0 percent or 24,500, which was the slowest monthly job growth in 13 months. The Utah Department of Workforce Services believes July was an anomaly and that August will return to the 2.3 – 2.5 percent range.

July was also the first month in the past 18 months that Utah was not in the top five states in job growth. The most recent employment data show that Utah ranks tenth among all states in percent increase in nonfarm employment (July to July).

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Aug
22
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Less Well-Known Census Facts

Utah's Economy- Utah's Less Well-Known Census Facts
Once every ten years the decennial census provides a snapshot of Utah’s population. A few of the notable characteristics receive a lot of press such as the state’s young population, small household size and fertility rate. Meanwhile a number of interesting statistics are rarely discussed or published. Some of the more fascinating of these little-known characteristics of the Utah population include:

  • Population Characteristics
  • Household Types and Relationships
  • Homeowners and Renters
  • Commuting
  • Educational Attainment and Income

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Jul
25
Utah’s Economy: Housing Prices Hit Bottom in 2011

Utah's Economy- Housing Prices Hit Bottom in 2011
Prior to 2008 the average sales price of a home in Salt Lake County rarely declined. Since 1955 prices have dropped only 10 times. Until recently price declines were limited to the 1950s and 1960s, but even in these decades there are no years of consecutive declines; consecutive declines are confined to the 2008-2011 period. Over the past four years the average price of a home sold in Salt Lake County has fallen by 22 percent with the largest single-year decline of 9.6 percent coming in 2011.

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Jun
27
Forecasts for Utah show majority of all economic indicators to improve in 2012

Utah's Economy- Forecasts for Utah show majority of all economic indicators to improve in 2012

The recently released economic forecast for Utah shows that all major economic indicators will improve in 2012 with the exception of nonresidential construction. Jobs will increase to 1,239,000, an increase of 30,000 and a near return to the pre-recession peak of 1,250,000. The unemployment rate will continue to decline and the beginning of the housing recovery will finally take hold in 2012.

The Revenue Assumption Committee forecast also shows accelerating growth in 2013 as nonresidential construction rebounds and non-farm employment increases by 37,100 new jobs…

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May
23
Utah’s Economy: Residential Foreclosures Ebbing

Utah's Economy- Residential Foreclosures Ebbing
Since 2009 foreclosed homes have accounted for 10 to 20 percent of single-family sales in most cities. Magna is at the upper end with foreclosed properties representing 21 percent of home sales, while Centerville is near the bottom with only 8 percent.

Even high income housing markets in small communities, like Alpine and Fruit Heights have had their share of foreclosed sales. In both of these communities the sare of foreclosed properties was in double digits.

Of course when foreclosed properties are measured as a share of the city’s total housing stock, the share is much smaller, generally between 1 and 3 percent of the inventory.

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May
2
Utah’s Economy: Washington County’s Housing Bubble

Utah's Economy- Washington County's Housing Bubble
No other county in Utah experienced a housing bubble quite like Washington County. In fact for most counties the housing crash was due primarily to loss of demand rather than a supply bubble. But not in Washington County where “irrational exuberance” and speculation led to a very serious housing bubble that continues to negatively affect the local real estate market.From 2003 through 2006 the number of housing units in Washington County grew by one-third, increasing from 39,000 units to 52,000 units, an annual growth rate of 7 percent. This boom drove construction employment up by 207 percent. By 2006, one out of every six jobs in the county was in the construction sector.

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Mar
30
Utah’s Economy: City Creek and Downtown Salt Lake City Retail

City Creek and Downtown Salt Lake City RetailThe City Creek Center will bring retail back to Main Street and should add at least $200 million in retail sales to Salt Lake City’s Central Business District (CBD). Main Street retail is essential for a vibrant downtown and the completion of City Creek’s 700,000 square feet will have positive spillover effects for downtown’s entertainment, lodging, office and housing sectors.

For many years there was too much retail space on Main Street. Crossroads Mall (1980 – 2007) and ZCMI Center (1976 – 2007) had a combined million square feet of retail space, including over 300,000 squre feet of department store space in ZCMI; clearly too much retail space particularly once Gateway was completed in 2001.

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Jan
27
Utah’s Economy: Miscellaneous Notes on the Utah Economy

Utah's Economy- Miscellaneous Notes on the Utah Economy

Exports, tourism, nonresidential construction and retail sales are just a few of the sectors in the Utah economy that have shown improvement in the past year. A broad based recovery appears to be underway pushing job growth to near 3 percent and giving the state a ranking of fourth among all states in nonfarm employment growth in 2011.

Exports in Utah have nearly doubled in the last two years increasing from $10.3 billion in 2009 to $18.9 billion in 2011. A sizeable share of the increase in the value of Utah’s exports is due to the 50 percent jump in gold prices over the past two years. Gold from Nevada mines is refined at the Johnson Matthey facility in Salt Lake County and then exported primarily to the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Taiwan. The local
Johnson Matthey plant is the leading U.S. refinery of newly mined gold. In 2011 about $12 billion of
Utah’s nearly $19 billion in exports was gold. Utah’s most important non-gold export product is integrated circuit memory (RAM and ROM), primarily produced by IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture of Micron and Intel, located in Lehi. The United Kingdom is Utah’s largest trading partner.

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Jan
24
Utah’s Economy: A Highly Educated Work Force?

Utah's Economy- A Highly Educated Work Force

Twenty-eight percent of Utah workers have a least a bachelor’s degree. At this level of education, Utah ranks 20th among all states in educational attainment in the labor force. The state does not do quite as well in terms of advanced degrees. Nine percent of Utah workers have advanced degrees, which ranks 27th.

Highly educated workers are those benefitting from the improving job market both locally and nationally. At the national level the number of workers with a college degree has jumped by nearly 1.1 million over the past year while the number of workers with just a high school degree has fallen by 600,000 jobs.

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Dec
14
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Job Market at Year-End 2011

Utah's Economy- Utah's Job Market at Year-End 2011
At year-end the Utah economy shows signs of recovery. All major indicators, with the exception of housing, improved over 2010 and the forecast for 2012 shows further improvement. Double-digit gains were recorded in 2011 for exports, nonresidential construction, vehicle sales and state tax revenues.

Most impressive, however was the strength of Utah’s job market in the second half of the year. Employment growth jumped from an annual rate of around 1.5 percent, where it had been struck for several months, to the 2.5 to 2.9 percent range.

Read the entire report: Download Utah Economy Report November 2011

Nov
29
Utah’s Economy: Utah in Top Ten in Household Income

Utah in Top Ten in Household Income
In 2012 Utah ranked tenth among all states in household income. The median household income for Utah, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, was $56,787, 15 percent above the national median of $49,445. New Hampshire ranks first in household income while Mississippi ranks last.

It’s important to keep in mind that household income includes more than wages. Besides wages, household income also includes dividends, interest, rents, transfer payments (Social Security) and other non-wage income. While household income in Utah is above the national median, Utah’s average wage rate is below the national average.

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Oct
27
Third Quarter 2011 Utah Commercial Real Estate Market Reports

Oct
27
Utah’s Job Market Outperforming Most States

Utah's Job Market Outperforming Most States
Utah employers are hiring again. Over the past three months the number of jobs in Utah has increased at a pace of about 30,000 new jobs a month. This rate of growth was not expected until at least 2012. Utah’s labor market is growing faster than any other western state with the excepion of the small and energy-rich, Wyoming.

Read the entire report:Download Utah Economy September 2011

Sep
29
Utah’s Economy: Renters Increase by 60,000 in Ten Years

Utah's Economy- Renters Increase by 60,000 in Ten YearsIn the past 10 years the number of renter households in Utah increased by 60,000. Of the 877,000 households in Utah in 2010, 260,000 were renters. While the most recent decade saw the largest absolute increase in new renters, in relative terms the 30 percent increase between 2000 and 2010 was about average.

The decade with the largest gain in renters was the 1980s when the number of renters grew by 42 percent, while the 1960s was the slowest growing decade with only 4.6 percent increase. In 2010 30 percent of all households were renters. Over the last 50 years renter occupied units (as a percent of total occupied units) has fluctuated in a narrow range of 28 percent to 34 percent.

Read the entire report:Download Utah Economy August 2011

Aug
25
Utah’s Economy: Federal Construction to Offset Fewer State and Private Projects

Utah's Economy: Federal Construction to Offset Fewer State and Private Projects
Three large federal government projects should help prevent more job losses for the nonresidential construction sector. The sector is particularly vulnerable due to the anticipated lower levels of state building and road construction, the completion of City Creek Center and the winding down of fiscal stimulus spending.

 

Read the entire report: Download Utah Economy July 2011

Aug
3
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Economy at Mid-Year 2011, Housing Trouble Slows Recovery

Utah's Economy- Utah's Economy at Mid-Year 2011, Housing Trouble Slows Recovery
The most recent forecast for the Utah economy was completed in June by the Utah Revenue Assumption Committee. The forecast shows improvement in every major indicator in 2011 with the exception of residential construction.

 

Read the entire report:Download Utah Economy June 2011

Jun
23
Utah’s Economy: Foreclosure confusion. Has the American Dream of homeownership become the American Nightmare?

Utah's Economy- Foreclosure confusion. Has the American Dream of homeownership become the American Nightmare
Has the American Dream of homeownership become the American Nightmare? A recent Salt Lake Tribune article described the nightmare of foreclosure and homeownership. The article correctly noted the Great Recession has resulted in a record number of foreclosure filings. The interpretation of foreclosure data however requires some caution to avoid misleading conclusions.

Read the entire report:Download Utah Economy Report May 2011

 

May
25
Utah’s Economy: Welcomed news for the commercial real estate retail sector, with retail sales improving

Utah's Economy- Welcomed news for the commercial real estate retail sector, with retail sales improving
Finally some welcomed news for the retail sector – sales tax revenues are up 3.9 percent, a sure sign consumer spending is picking up. Furthermore, retail sales are projected to increase by 4.3 percent in 2011 followed by a 5.4 percent increase in 2012, which will push sales up to $27.8 billion. The projected $27.8 billion in sales in 2012 is roughly equivalent, in real dollars, to the retail sector’s previous peak year, 2007.

 

 

Read the entire report: Download Utah Economy April 2011

Apr
18
Utah’s Economy: Changes in the Utah Economy 1980 – 2009, a look at employment sectors and private employers

Changes in the Utah Economy 1980 - 2009

The service sector now dominates employment in the Utah economy. The sector has a total of 460,700 employees, which reflects a tremendous shift in employment over the last 30 years. in 1980 only 23.5 percent of all non-farm workers were in the service sector, but by 2009 that share had grown to nearly 40 percent.

The large growth in the services has left most other sectors with diminished employment shares. Two high wage sectors that have significantly declined are mining and manufacturing. Manufacturing’s share of jobs has dropped from 16.1 percent in 1980 to 10.3 percent in 2009. Declines have also been registered by government and transportation sectors. Some of these shifts in employment are picked up in changes in Utah’s major employers.

Mar
16
Utah’s Economy: Updated Projections of Utah’s Major Economic Indicators

The Revenue Assumption Committee released the most recent 2011 projections of Utah’s major economic indicators on February 22, 2011. These projections revised the committee’s November projections. Of the 11 indicators, six were revised higher and four were left unchanged, and one – net in-migration – was revised lower. The important indicators of employment and wages [...]

Feb
22
Utah’s Economy: The business of sports in Utah has been an upbeat sector in the economy

Utah's Economy- The business of sports in Utah has been an upbeat sector in the economyOne upbeat sector in the Utah economy over the past few years has been the sports industry. In 2009 spending on sports activities, including attendance, participation and retail purchases, totaled $2.5 billion.

Some other Highlights:

-Attendance for collegiate sports events is at an all-time high. In the most recent season the combined attendance for football, basketball and women’s gymnastics totaled 1.6 million spectators.

-In 2009 attendance at professional sports events was 2.28 million, the third highest attendance year ever.

-With the completion of the $110 million Rio Tinto Stadium the value of sports venues in Utah, including golf courses, collegiate facilities and professional sports team stadiums, hit $3.2 billion in 2010.

-The number of skier/snowboarder days in Utah was 4.0 million in 2010, near the record level of 2008.

Read the entire report: Download Utah_Economy Report January 2011

 

Jan
25
Utah’s Economy: Housing Demand and Prices

Utah's Economy- Housing Demand and PricesSince World War II there have been two severe contractions in the local real estate market; 1979 – 1982 and 2007 – 2010. The primary causes of the 1979 – 1982 collapse were severe overbuilding, 13 percent inflation rates, and 18.5 mortgage rates. Compare these conditions with the current contraction; modest overbuilding, two percent inflation rates and four percent mortgage rates. Remarkably, in the current contraction the lowest inflation and mortgage rates in 60 years, combined with 15 to 20 percent declines in home prices have done little to stimulate demand for housing. The current weakness in Utah’s housing market is due primarily to a loss of demand, rather than any imbalance on the supply side…

Dec
13
Utah’s Economy: The Utah Economy 2010 & 2011

Utah's Economy- The Utah Economy 2010 & 2011

In November, the Revenue Assumption Committee released projections of Utah’s major economic indicators. These projections show that by 2011 the number of jobs in the Utah economy will increase by about 16,500. Welcome news after two years of job losses. All of Utah’s major economic indicators turn positive by 2011 with the exception of permit authorized nonresidential construction, which is projected to decline by 22 percent.

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Utah_EconomyNovember2010

Nov
24
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Tax Revenues Improve

Utah's Economy- Utah's Tax Revenues ImproveTax revenues are very sensitive to changes in spending and investment, and therefore are a key indicator of local economic conditions. It’s welcomed news that revenues are up for both Salt Lake County and the State of Utah. Increased sales tax revenues will help the county avoid any budget cuts this year. At the state level, most sources of revenue are up significantly through mid-October.

Oct
22
Utah’s Economy: Not Much Traction for the Utah Economy

Utah Economy September 2010Utah’s major economic indicators show just a few faint signs of recovery. For the most part, economic activity has yet to signal much improvement as the economy bounces along at the bottom of the cycle.

Throughout 2010 job losses have diminished month after month but whether job creation has begun is unclear due to conflicting data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment conditions are tracked through two data series from BLS…

Read the entire report: Download Utah Economy September 2010

Sep
16
The Outlook for Nonresidential Construction

The Utah Economy Report August 2010Permit authorized nonresidential construction in Utah has averaged $1.5 billion annually (constant 2009 dollars) over the past 15 years. During this time, 70 percent of all new nonresidential construction was located in the four Wasatch Front Counties (Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah Counties). Salt Lake County dominated new construction activity with a 44 percent share of statewide nonresidential construction and an average annual value of $681 million.

Read the entire report: Download The Utah Economy Report August 2010

Aug
19
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Long-Term Growth

Utah's Economy- Utah's Long-Term GrowthAs Keynes famously said, “in the long run we are all dead,” nevertheless every so often it is helpful to look at long-term economic and demographic trends. Most of the press and pundit discussion of economic conditions focus narrowly on changes in daily, weekly and monthly economic indicators. but, it is long-term trends that reveal the underlying strength and weakness of an economy.

Utah’s long run economic performance has been stellar. No other state has consistently ranked among the top five in the rate of employment growth over the past 60 years. Whatever starting year one chooses Utah will rank among the top five states in employment growth.

 

Read the entire report: Download Utah Economy Report July 2010

Jul
20
Utah’s Economy: Employment Change in Utah, Counties and Sectors

Utah's Economy- Employment Change in Utah, Counties and SectorsOver the past three years job losses have occurred in 25 of Utah’s 29 counties. The four counties with job growth are: Tooele, Sanpete, Grand and Beaver. All of these counties are relatively small, and consequently employment trends can be significantly altered by the addition or expansion of just a few firms. From May 2007 to May 2010 Sanpete led all counties with a seven percent gain in employment. Tooele leads in terms of numeric change with an increase of 510 jobs over the past three years. The two poorest performing counties are Juab and Wasatch Counties. both have had employment declines exceeding 20 percent.

Of the four Wasatch Front counties, Weber County has suffered the largest relative decline in employment. Nonfarm employment in Weber County has declined from 95,700 to 89,250 in three years, a drop of 6.8 percent…

Read the entire report: Download The Utah Economy Report June 2010

Jun
29
Utah’s Economy: Forecast at Mid-Year, Shows an Economy on the Mend

he most recent forecast for Utah’s economic indicators shows an economy on the mend. Nearly all indicators improve in 2010 with the exception of employment and nonresidential construction. Growth is expected in total wages paid, along with vehicle sales, retail sales and new home construction. The good news on the job front is that the level of job losses will decline considerably in 2010. In February of this year, job losses were forecast at 20,000. That forecast has not been scaled back to a loss of 7,900 jobs.

May
18
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Improving Home Building Sector

Utah's Economy- Utah's Improving Home Building SectorWhile the home building contraction has been devastating for the local industry, Utah has fared better than other western states, and in fact better than the national trend, which shows a 73.4 percent decline. Among the nine high growth western states, Utah ranks best with the smallest decline of 61.8 percent in residential permits as measured from peak year to 2009. Nevada, Arizona and California have all reported declines of over 80 percent since their peak years. If Utah had experienced a similar level of decline, residential construction activity in 2009 would have been 5,000 units rather than the 10,600 units reported.

Home building in most states registered serious losses in 2009. Utah, however, was an exception. The number of residential building permits issued in Utah in 2009 was down only 2.5 percent, less than 300 units. Nationally, residential permits were down 36.8 percent, with the eight other high growth western states all having sizeable reductions in home building activity in 2009.

Apr
19
Utah’s Economy: Earnings and Household Income in Utah

Rapid economic growth, tied to home building, rendered many western states vulnerable to serious job losses once the home building cycle turned. In most vulnerable states, employment in construction has declined by more than 30 percent. Among the hardest hit states are Arizona and Nevada, with 46 percent and 43 percent declines in construction, respectively. In Utah, construction jobs have fallen from 103,500 to 71,500, a drop of 32 percent. The large losses in the construction sector are due to the high rates of unemployment and job loss registered by several western states.

Read the entire report: Download The UtahEconomy March 2010 Report

Mar
17
Utah’s Economy The Housing Recovery

Job losses in Utah have been widespread, with all major counties experiencing employment declines. In terms of percent change, Wasatch county has sustained the greatest loss among major counties, while Tooele has fared quite well. In Wasatch county, employment is down 10.7 percent in the past year, while Tooele County’s decline is only one-tenth of one percent. Of course Salt Lake County leads in total number of jobs lost with a nearly 31,000 decline over the past 12 month period.

Read the entire report: Download The Utah Economy Report Feb 2010

Feb
22
Utah’s Economy: First Hints of Recovery

The February meeting of Utah’s Revenue Assumption Committee produced further evidence of the beginning of an economic recovery in Utah. In summary, the projections for Utah’s economic indicators show that the worst is over, with modest improvement expected in 2010 and accelerating gains in 2011.

Read the entire report: Download UtahEconomy Report Jan 2010

Jan
13
Utah’s Economy: Commercial Construction Contraction

We are beginning to see signs that the Utah economy is beginning to stabilize; monthly losses in employment are shrinking, unemployment claims are dropping, and permits for new homes are up. At the national level the stock market had an incredible year in 2009, the Christmas retail season was better than expected, and housing prices have managed slight increases in many urban areas. It still appears, however, too early to call it bottom for the commercial real estate sector, nationally or locally. The cycle for this sector generally lags other economic indicators by one to two years and it is no different in this recession.

Dec
11
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Economic Indicators 2009 – 2011

In November the Revenue Assumption Committee released projections of Utah’s major economic indicators. These projections show that by 2011 the number of jobs in the Utah economy will increase by about 20,000. Welcome news after two years of serious decline.

Read more: Download Utah Economy Nov 2009 Report

Nov
17
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Weak Job Market Persists

Utah’s employment conditions remain very weak, particularly given Utah’s historic position as a high growth state. Employment over the past year has declined by more than 51,000 jobs and the Utah Department of Workforce Services is projecting the state will lose close to 55,000 jobs in 2009.

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Download UtahEconomy Report Oct 2009

Oct
15
Utah’s Economy: Inflation, Interest, and Utah Banks

In conversations with business owners, most express serious concern that the U.S. economy is on the threshold of high rates of inflation, but at the same time they almost unanimously report lower prices and wages for their business. Indeed the average wage in Utah in the past year has increased less than one percent.

Click the following link to view the entire report.

Download UtahEconomy058Sept2009

Sep
18
Utah’s Economy: First Signs of Recovery

In the past few weeks much of the economic news has turned positive. Projections for third quarter GDP have been raised to 2.9 percent, worker productivity is up at an annual rate of 6.6 percent, new home construction has increased for five consecutive months, the stock market continues its gains, the Case-Shiller housing price index finally turned positive with a 2.9 percent increase for the second quarter, consumer confidence is up, and perhaps most important, the rate of job loss has decelerated substantially, from monthly losses of 700,000 jobs to monthly losses of around 200,000 jobs.

Read the entire report:Download Utah Economy 057 August 2009

Aug
12
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Rental Market in Transition

A higher percentage of Utahns are homeowners now than at any time in recent history. In 2008, the Census Bureau estimated that 76.2 percent of all Utah households were homeowners. Utah ranks second among all states in homeownership….

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Jul
13
Utah’s Economy: Utah’s Economic Indicators at Mid-Year 2009

The most recent forecast for the Utah economy shows a bottom established in 2009 with some signs of growth in 2010. However, in terms of economic performance, 2009 will be the single worst year in Utah’s post World War II economic history.

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Download Utah Economy 055 June 2009

Jun
18
Utah’s Economy: A Difficult Decade 2000 to 2010

Historically, Utah has been a high employment growth state. Since 1980 employment has grown annually to a percent rate of 3.0, which ranks third among all states. Only Nevada and Arizona have had higher rates of employment growth. Looking at a shorter time frame – 2000 to 2008 – Utah maintains its high ranking, with an average annual growth rate of 2.0 percent.

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Download Utah Economy 054 May 2009

Jun
18
Utah Commercial Real Estate…Distressed Assets Ahead?

Investors, brokers, and appraisers are all waiting on the lending institutions to place large volumes of distressed commercial properties on the market at deep discounts from perceived current market values. Memories of the RTC days are still with us and many industry professionals see it all happening again. However, 20/20 hindsight frequently colors the memory with a “rosy hue.” The actual experience of the 1980’s was not all together a pleasant one for many. That was a time when the savings and loan industry collapsed for a variety of reasons, including fraud and poor tax policies that led to severe overbuilding and poor lending procedures with lax underwriting. Looking back many view the RTC era as the Redistribution of The Commercial property act and have forgotten how many real estate fortunes were wiped out during this period.

May
18
Utah’s Economy: Foreclosures and Utah’s Home Building Recovery

Over the next 18 months the strength of the rebound in Utah’s home building industry will be significantly affected by the extent of home foreclosures. Widespread foreclosures have been devastating to the home building industries in California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida….

Read the full report here:

Download Utah Economy April 2009 Report