Secrets to our success

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Editor’s note: prepared remarks delivered by Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie to a delegation of business and community leaders from Orlando, Florida visiting Salt Lake City.

Well let me tell you … It doesn’t get better than having such an extraordinary delegation of business and community leaders from Orlando visiting our beautiful city.  On behalf of the Utah business community … Welcome. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your interest in Salt Lake City. And thank you for allowing us to share our best thinking when it comes to city building.

I’d like to ask members of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors to stand up and be recognized for their business leadership.

I’d also like to acknowledge our business host and sponsor – Zions Bank.

Throughout the day, and now from our governor, you’ve heard about Salt Lake’s collaborative spirit. It is collaboration that helped us to build an extraordinary transporation system, to secure an invitation to the PAC12, to land a World Trade Center, to support world-class science, technology and research at our universities and to support a great NBA franchise … the Utah Jazz.

Yes, I even think collaboration has something to do with BYU and Jimmer’s success!

Collaboration is messy, difficult, frustrating and … indispensable. It is the secret sauce to our success in Salt Lake City. We’ve applied the principles of collaboration to foster a profoundly successful quality growth partnership – what you know as Envision Utah.

By any standard, Envision Utah is a regional planning success story. Tonight, we will dive into the core of Salt Lake’s regional vision – where we are tonight … downtown Salt Lake City.

Great regions have great centers of commerce. Every region needs a heart.

- New England has Boston

- The Great Lakes have Chicago

- The South has Atlanta (or should I say Orlando)

- The American Northwest has Seattle.

- And the Intermountain West has SALT LAKE CITY.

- (I might add that Kansas has Denver)

We like to say that Salt Lake City is “On the rise.” And during this visit, you will see that for yourself.

Four years ago, we took collaboration in Salt Lake City to a whole new level. It’s something called “Downtown Rising.” It is a movement to create a Great American City.

The fruits of this movement are well documented by the sites and sounds that are a apart of your visit. Rather than describe the vision, which will be very evident to you by the time you complete your visit, I would like to take a few minutes and share with you a few of the lessons learned from Downtown Rising.

You will then be able to see Downtown Rising in action as Mark Gibbons provides an overview of one of the nation’s largest mixed use projects currently under.

Your understanding of Downtown Rising will further solidify as you visit the University of Utah tomorrow and continue to experience this rising city in the interior west.

Lessons Learned

The first lesson of Downtown Rising is that PLACE MATTERS. I’m fond of an often used quote from Winston Churchill. He said, “First we build our cities, and then they build us.”

Indeed, the built environment – roads, buildings, transit networks, parks, trails, civic places – all become part of who we are as people. God gave us these rugged and beautiful mountains … it is up to us to create a livable city in their valleys.

The second lesson of Downtown Rising is that DOWNTOWN BELONGS TO ALL OF UTAH. In a very real sense, if you are a Utahn … you are a Salt Laker. This city is our identity to the world. It is the gateway to everything else in this beautiful state, including world-renowned national parks and recreation areas. We better make sure that downtown SLC has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Earlier today you visited the award-winning Daybreak community. Downtown belongs to them.

While traveling their on our Mid-Jordan TRAX line, you traveled through South Salt Lake, Murray, Midvale, and West Jordan.

Downtown belongs to them too.

I live north of here in Davis County and yes, downtown belongs to me and my neighbors as well.

In fact, you could say that downtown Salt Lake City is the front door and living room to most of Utah. It’s where both residents and visitors enter our state.

Lesson number three – UNITY. We learned very quickly in Downtown Rising that multiple visions are like no vision at all. It’s just fine for property owner A, property owner B and property owner C to have separate plans for their footprint downtown.

For example, the LDS Church certainly has a vision for their properties adjacent to Temple Square, just as the owners of much of the property in mid-town have their plans for the future.

But at some level … all property owners benefit from having a common vision about their collective future. Together, these property owners have created not a program, not an initiative, but a movement. A movement called Downtown Rising.

A movement is when people with a common ideology unite to achieve transformational goals.

What is our common ideology? A love for this community, for this place and for the people of Utah.

What are our transformational goals?

To become a world city. A place where global matters are right at home.

To be a city of learning. A place where residents enthusiastically embrace lifelong learning, outstanding schools and top-notch research universities.

To be a welcoming city. A city that builds upon our stellar success in hosting the Olympic Winter games and welcoming the world to our home.

To be a city with soul … a city that is the foremost center in the Intermountain West for arts and entertainment.

To be a green city … a city that thinks, looks and acts green and  develops in ways that are healthy, sensitive and sustainable.

And to be a city with the finest public transit system for any city of our size in America.

Well today and tomorrow, we invite you to “See for Yourself.” And as you do so I believe you will say to yourself … “It doesn’t get better than this.”

I will now welcome Natalie Gochnour, who has played a leadership role with Downtown Rising, to join me at the podium as we respond to your questions. After a few questions, I will turn the time over to Mark Gibbons to show you concrete evidence of Downtown Rising in action.

Utah’s economic recovery built around capital city, energy

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

The numbers tell an interesting story as Utah’s recovery shows strong signs in both urban and rural areas—but for different reasons.

A quick look at the most recent economic data released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services shows strong year-over growth in the counties surrounding Salt Lake County—meaning Utah’s most populated county is at the heart of the recovery.

As a state, Utah saw year-over job growth in February of 1.6 percent. In five of the six counties surrounding Salt Lake County (excluding Morgan), the rate jumps to 2.8 percent. Summit County has the highest rate at 3.9 percent while Davis and Utah are at 1.8 and 1.9 percent respectively.

The momentum of the recovery is building and good things are happening in our state. And the good news isn’t confined to the counties surrounding Salt Lake. A strengthening energy sector is propelling growth in urban areas of our state including Uintah, Duchesne and Beaver counties.

Those counties are rich in energy resources, including a wind farm in Beaver County. As a state, Utah recorded an 8.4 percent increase in jobs in the Natural Resources sector. That sector of the state economy saw the largest year-over increase in jobs with Professional and Business coming in second place at 6.4 percent growth.

Energy will play an increasingly important role in our state economy going forward. Earlier this month, the governor unveiled Utah’s 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan to propel the state to energy independence.

The Utah Jobs Agenda is an aggressive plan laid out by the Salt Lake Chamber to create 150,000 jobs over the next five years. Utah businesses are responding to the call to invest, to innovate and—most importantly—to hire.

Heavy construction jobs have increased by 17.6 percent. Employment services jobs have increased by 14.6 percent. We’ve also seen increases in computer and electronics manufacturing (5.5 percent), Internet service providers (6.3 percent) and business support services (9.2 percent).

The bottom line: Utah’s economy is creating jobs.

See the businesses creating jobs in our state.

CNN looks at Utah Guest Worker program

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

A reporter from CNN visited Utah last week and spoke with the Chamber about support of H.B. 116 and the Utah Guest Worker program. The report was broadcast on CNN’s American Morning on Monday and the Spanish version made the rounds the same day on CNN-Espanol.

Pursuing a federal solution to immigration

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Editor’s note: This piece ran as an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, Saturday, March 26, 2011. It is co-authored by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie. (Click here to see Tribune version)

You would be hard pressed to find an issue on which leaders from business, government, faith, law enforcement, labor unions, conservative libertarian and liberal human rights groups all agree.   And you would think if these disparate groups would come together on an issue, the federal government would have the courage and leadership to address it.  Yet there is an issue that all these groups agree on, and their agreement has yet to spur action in Washington.  That issue is immigration reform.  These diverse groups all agree our current immigration system is fundamentally broken and the federal government must act.

Law enforcement officials experience firsthand how harsh immigration laws make immigrants less likely to come forward to report a crime or assist in an investigation and divert police resources away from preventing and solving dangerous crimes.  Faith leaders and human rights advocates experience firsthand how our enforcement of immigration laws arbitrarily and systematically tears apart families.  And business and labor leaders experience firsthand how our current system frustrates the ability of companies to recruit the workers they need to grow and create American jobs.

America is a country of immigrants.  American values find perhaps their greatest expression in the Statue of Liberty, a monument that in no uncertain terms reaffirms our commitment to openness to immigrants.

And immigration is more than about American values.  It’s also about American prosperity.  As we try to keep the U.S. and Utah economy growing, immigrants are the best solution to American job creation.  The quickest way to put 104,000 Utahns back to work is to grow the economy, and we need immigrants to help make it happen.

The labor market is not a zero sum game, and the notion that immigrants are taking American jobs is a myth that bears no relation to the realities of the labor market.  Studies estimate every temporary high skilled immigrant worker creates five additional jobs, because these workers tend to work in growth areas like research and development.[1] Similarly, at the lower-skilled end, studies show each farm job creates three additional jobs in areas like management and manufacturing. [2] The simple fact is companies need a variety of types of workers to grow.  When educational, cultural, or geographic limitations bar native-born Americans from filling a certain role, immigrants from all over the world can come and fill it.  When they do, more jobs are created for American and Utah workers.

But our current system makes it simply too difficult to recruit necessary workers.  High tech companies are moving offices to Vancouver, Canada because their engineers and programmers can’t get visas.  Manufacturing companies are moving their trade shows to Latin America because their buyers can’t get tourist visas.  Farms are moving their operations to Mexico and elsewhere because they can’t get workers to harvest their fields.

Utah legislators have been responsible for keeping families together and helping businesses thrive with sensible legislation aimed at fixing our immigration system.   These lawmakers have strengthened families by allowing businesses to sponsor workers directly from Mexico.

Yet we can only do so much in Utah.   Immigration is a federal issue, and only Washington can make the changes we need to create jobs and be true to our values.   That’s why we support groups like the Partnership for a New American Economy, which brings businesses and mayors together to make the economic case for immigration reform, and Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which brings evangelical leaders together to advocate for better immigration laws.  It is time to get serious about reaffirming who we are and where we want to be in the world.  We urge our leaders in Washington to take action and fix our broken immigration system now.


[1] National Foundation for American Policy, “H-1B Visas and Job Creation,” NFAP Policy Brief March 2008, available at http://www. nfap.com/pdf/080311h1b.pdf (concluding that “for every H-1B position requested, U.S. technology

companies increase their employment by 5 workers”).

[2] Testimony of James Holt, Committee on Agriculture, U.S. House of Representatives (Oct. 4, 2007), at 5, available at http://agriculture.house.gov/testimony/110/110-30.pdf (testifying that “U.S. Department of Agriculture studies indicate that there are about 3.1 [] upstream and downstream jobs for every on-farm job. Most of these upstream and downstream jobs are ‘good’ jobs, i.e. permanent, average or better paying jobs held by citizens and permanent residents. Thus, we would be exporting about three times as many jobs of U.S. citizens and permanent residents as we would farm jobs filled by aliens if we restrict access to alien agricultural workers.”).

Director General of U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service visits Chamber

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Suresh Kumar-WTCU from Salt Lake Chamber on Vimeo.

Suresh Kumar, assistant secretary of commerce for trade promotion and director general of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service visited the Salt Lake Chamber and World Trade Center  Utah to address the President’s National Export Initiative.

Kumar visited with business leaders and economic development specialists to get an inside look at Utah’s success in merchandise exports. Utah has doubled merchandise exports over the past five years and set a new record in 2010 at $13.6 billion.

Past Giants welcome Bishop H. David Burton to the club

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Past Giants In Our City honor Bishop H. David Burton from Salt Lake Chamber on Vimeo.

We’re less than six hours away from the Giant In Our City award banquet, being held tonight at 7 p.m. at the Grand America Hotel. We’re honoring Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will become the 31st person to receive the award in the 41 years since it was first presented.

We sat down with a few of the past recipients of the award to hear what they think of the newest member of the club.

Utah’s approach to immigration earns national attention, praise

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Late last week, the Utah Legislature passed a series of immigration bills that are earning Utah praise from some of the world’s most influential publications.

Legislators created a guest worker program to allow undocumented workers to continue to contribute to our community while providing law enforcement the authority to check the immigration status of those who commit serious crimes. The Chamber supports the guest worker program and feels this uniquely Utah solution adheres to the principles outlined in The Utah Compact.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized: “Believe it or not, illegal immigration is dominating the final days of the legislative session in Utah. Even more remarkable, lawmakers in this reddest of states are considering an approach to the problem that contrasts sharply with neighboring Arizona’s decision to double-down on enforcement.

“Guest-worker advocates say that the most responsible way to shrink the illegal alien population without hurting the local economy is by giving foreign nationals wider access to the state’s labor markets. “Utah has a growing economy that’s ready and able to put people to work,” says Natalie Gochnour, chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. “Our business leaders are saying, ‘Let’s not diminish our labor supply. Let’s not reduce our customer base. Let’s not raise business costs. Let’s not detract from outside investment, convention business, tourism.’”

Julia Preston of The New York Times writes: “… in contrast to Arizona’s approach, Utah lawmakers framed their bill to set up a negotiation, rather than a confrontation, between the governor and the federal authorities. Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican who handily won election in November, is expected to sign the bill.

“Utah is the anti-Arizona,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a group in Washington that favors legislation by Congress to grant legal status to illegal immigrants. “Instead of indulging the fantasy that you can drive thousands of people out of your state, it combines enforcement with the idea that those who are settled should be brought into the system.”

Nicolas Riccardi of the Los Angeles Times reports Utah’s approach to immigration goes in “a dramatically different direction.”

He writes: “A year ago, a revolution on immigration enforcement seemed underway, with legislators in at least 20 states vowing to follow the lead of Arizona’s tough new law targeting illegal immigrants.

“These days, the momentum has shifted.

“In at least six states, the proposals have been voted down or have simply died. Many of the other proposals have not even made it past one legislative chamber.”

Local economists, including Gochnour, the chief economist of the Salt Lake Chamber, penned an open letter to the Legislature before the bills passed. The letter emphasized the potential economic impacts of legislation—particularly bills that would damage Utah’s reputation as a welcoming state.

“Immigrant labor, ingenuity and purchasing power are critical components of the Utah economy. Utah immigrants – both documented and undocumented – comprise a large and vital part of the Utah economy as business owners, workers, consumers and taxpayers. Utah is home to 169,600 foreign-born residents and an estimated 110,000 undocumented immigrants, all of whom purchase Utah products. Immigrants are entrepreneurs and property owners. Mexican nationals and immigrants own 1,834 businesses in Utah accounting for $227 million in annual sales. Mexican immigrants own property valued at $984 million and have an estimated purchasing power exceeding $1 billion. The Perryman Group estimates that the loss of Utah’s undocumented immigrant workforce would result in the loss of $2.3 billion in expenditures in the Utah economy annually. And let’s not forget highly skilled foreign workers where H-1B visas nationwide are capped at 65,000 annually, an allotment that it is not unusual to fill in a single day. The Harvard Business School found that immigrants comprise nearly half of all scientists and engineers in the country who have a doctorate. Utah’s experience in recruiting USTAR professors confirms this trend. Clearly, there is a tight link between immigrants and the Utah economy.

“We point out these quantifiable economic realities to make a simple point. In our judgment, immigrant-unfriendly, state-level legislation could have very real and potentially unintended consequences on the Utah economy. Punitive immigration legislation – in substance or perception – could limit the labor force, diminish purchasing power, increase the cost of doing business, discourage outside investment and convention business, hinder people’s access to education and impair Utah’s reputation as a welcoming and friendly state. Any of these impacts would have a negative effect on the Utah economy at a time when we can ill afford economic disruption. Even worse, we fear that immigrant-unfriendly legislation, when combined with myriad downside risks outside of our control, could possibly derail Utah’s economic recovery. These are risks that we should not take.

“We ask you to exert economic leadership and refrain from passing immigration legislation this session that will increase economic uncertainty and could hurt the Utah economy.”

As the first principle of The Utah Compact clearly states, immigration is a federal issue between the U.S. Government and other countries, not Utah and other countries. The Chamber supports a comprehensive, federal solution. In the absence of federal action, Utah’s immigration approach is pragmatic and reasonable. It helps those who contribute to our economy and gives law enforcement the ability to take action against those who commit serious crimes.

To read the full stories click the publication name below:
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
USA Today

Immigration Legislation and the Utah Economy

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Editor’s note: This open letter to the Utah State Legislature was sent March 1, 2011 and ran in the Opinion section of the Deseret News March 3, 2011.

As Utah economists, we have observed with growing concern the lively immigration debate on Capitol Hill. The debate comes at a time when the Utah economy is at a crossroads, transitioning from the longest, deepest and broadest recession in over seven decades to what we hope will be a period of prolonged expansion. A strong, stable and sustained economic expansion, however, won’t happen by chance. Rather, it will occur because of purposeful economic leadership. It is with this in mind that we ask you to refrain from passing immigration legislation this year that will increase economic uncertainty and may impair Utah’s nascent recovery.

Utah’s economic recovery remains fragile. The recession impacted every industry and county in our state. Approximately 72,000 jobs were lost and unemployment reached its highest level in 26 years. Even today, more than 100,000 Utahns feel the sting of unemployment, which is twice the normal level. Fortunately, Utah’s economy is expanding again. Job growth has been positive for seven consecutive months. Businesses are hiring, consumers are spending and tax revenues are growing again.

But the expansion is not without serious risks. Most of these risks come from outside the state. Geopolitical concerns in the Middle East increase uncertainty, create investor anxiety and place upward pressure on energy prices. The European debt crisis remains a threat to global stability. The fiscal policy of the United States continues to send dangerous signals to the international economy, which reverberates at the state level. And, stock market volatility, tight credit, foreclosures and consumer confidence, among others, remain a concern.

Clearly, the Utah economy is not home free. It is imperative that Utah leaders take command of the economic influencers within our control and nurture this delicate expansion. This is where state-level immigration policy becomes critical.

There is broad agreement among mainstream economists that market-driven immigration increases productivity, boosts real wages and grows the economy.[1] Immigrant labor not only complements native labor, but spurs innovation and entrepreneurship, two hallmarks of economic progress in the 21st Century.[2]

Immigrant labor, ingenuity and purchasing power are critical components of the Utah economy. Utah immigrants – both documented and undocumented – comprise a large and vital part of the Utah economy as business owners, workers, consumers and taxpayers. Utah is home to 169,600 foreign-born residents and an estimated 110,000 undocumented immigrants, all of whom purchase Utah products. Immigrants are entrepreneurs and property owners. Mexican nationals and immigrants own 1,834 businesses in Utah accounting for $227 million in annual sales.[3] Mexican immigrants own property valued at $984 million and have an estimated purchasing power exceeding $1 billion.[4] The Perryman Group estimates that the loss of Utah’s undocumented immigrant workforce would result in the loss of $2.3 billion in expenditures in the Utah economy annually.[5] And let’s not forget highly skilled foreign workers where H-1B visas nationwide are capped at 65,000 annually, an allotment that it is not unusual to fill in a single day.[6] The Harvard Business School found that immigrants comprise nearly half of all scientists and engineers in the country who have a doctorate.[7] Utah’s experience in recruiting USTAR professors confirms this trend. Clearly, there is a tight link between immigrants and the Utah economy.

We point out these quantifiable economic realities to make a simple point. In our judgment, immigrant-unfriendly, state-level legislation could have very real and potentially unintended consequences on the Utah economy. Punitive immigration legislation – in substance or perception – could limit the labor force, diminish purchasing power, increase the cost of doing business, discourage outside investment and convention business, hinder people’s access to education and impair Utah’s reputation as a welcoming and friendly state. Any of these impacts would have a negative effect on the Utah economy at a time when we can ill afford economic disruption. Even worse, we fear that immigrant-unfriendly legislation, when combined with myriad downside risks outside of our control, could possibly derail Utah’s economic recovery. These are risks that we should not take.

We ask you to exert economic leadership and refrain from passing immigration legislation this session that will increase economic uncertainty and could hurt the Utah economy.

Sincerely,

Kelly Mathews
Past Economist
Wells Fargo Bank

Doug Macdonald
President
Econowest

Peter Phillips, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Economics Department
University of Utah

Susan Madsen
Associate Professor of Management
Woodbury School of Business
Utah Valley University

Natalie Gochnour
Chief Economist
Salt Lake Chamber

Randy Simmons
Professor of Political Economy
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Utah State University

Jeff Thredgold
Thredgold Economic Associates
Economic Consultant to Zions Bank


[1] There are many studies that have demonstrated this. We refer you to these as a sample:

“Restriction or Legislation? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform,” Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer, CATO Institute, Center for Trade Policy Studies.

“Immigration’s Economic Impact,” White House Council of Economic Advisors, 2007.

“The Multi-Cultural Economy,” Jeffrey Humphreys, University of Georgia Terry College of Business Selig Center for Economic Growth, 2008.

“The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration,” James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, National Academy Press, 1997.

[2] Immigrants, for example, were responsible for 25 percent of all high-tech start-ups and one-third of Silicon Valley start-ups during the dot-com expansion in the 1990s. See “America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” Duke University Master of Engineering Management Program and UC Berkeley School of Information, 2007.

[3] “The Economic Impact of the Mexico-Utah Relationship,” Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah, December 2005.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “An Analysis of the Economic Impact of Undocumented Workers on Business Activity in the U.S. with Estimated Effects By State,” Perryman Group, 2008.

[6]American Immigration Council, Immigration Policy Center. See http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/us-economy-still-needs-highly-skilled-foreign-workers

[7]The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and US Ethnic Invention,” William R. Kerr and William

R. Lincoln, Harvard Business School.

Putting Utahns Back to Work

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Editor’s Note: This piece was drafted by the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

Utah’s economic expansion is well underway. The Utah economy is growing at nearly twice the national rate and has been expanding now for eight consecutive months. Economic conditions are stronger than at any time in over two years and Utah employers have added 15,300 jobs in the last 12 months. Consumers are spending again, businesses are profitable again and tax revenues are growing again. Now, after the longest, deepest and broadest recession in over seven decades, more prosperous times are within reach.

“But there’s a big problem,” says Natalie Gochnour, chief economist and executive vice president of policy and communication for the Salt Lake Chamber, “and it affects every business and every family in the state: Unemployment in Utah remains at an unacceptably high level. Approximately 101,700 Utahns are unemployed, a full 7.5 percent of our workforce. It’s the highest level in 26 years and almost twice what would normally be expected. Our economic recovery will not be complete until Utahns are back at work.”

Bruce Bingham, a partner at Hamilton Partners, says jobs are the foundation of the American and Utah economies. “Until there is job growth there will not be economic growth.”

Solving the unemployment problem is not simply a role of government. “Utah business leaders recognize that they have a role in restoring the Utah economy to full employment, as well,” Gochnour explains. “It is through our investment, innovation and industry that Utah’s economy will flourish again. Our entrepreneurial success, combined with supportive federal, state and local government policies, will enable the economy to thrive. But it will take purposeful and united action.”

Introducing the Utah Jobs Agenda
One significant component of the “purposeful and united action” described by Gochnour is the “Utah Jobs Agenda,” an aggressive, 10-point plan to create 150,000 jobs in Utah over the next five years. The Agenda was unveiled in January by the Salt Lake Chamber with the support of government, business and industry leaders that want to ensure Utah’s economic recovery is not a jobless one.

“Our first and highest priority is restoring the Utah economy to full employment. The strength of our future is jobs. We encourage the governor and the Legislature to work with us to help us reach this goal,” said Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie at the Agenda’s unveiling.

The Agenda includes 10 areas of focus, each with a metric of performance. It combines the most important economic issues of our time — education, transportation, energy, the cost of doing business, corporate recruitment, immigration, tax policy, air quality and rural development — with determined and effective business leadership. Here’s a breakdown of the Utah Jobs Agenda with the specific details behind each of the plan’s 10 points:

1.     Education — Ensure that 90 percent of third and sixth grade students achieve reading and math proficiency; and ensure two-thirds of Utahns have a certificate, degree or equivalent endorsement in a skilled trade or academic pursuit by 2020:

o    Maintain 2010 per pupil spending.

o    Fund optional all-day kindergarten for at-risk students statewide.

o    Restore third grade reading initiative.

o    Launch a mission-based funding formula that allows every college and university to excel in their area of strength.

o    Fund Regents’ Scholarship for high achieving students.

o    Expand commitment to need-based aid.

2.     Transportation — Invest $4 billion in transportation infrastructure:

o    Protect the substantial investment in Utah roads by shoring up maintenance budgets.

o    Keep the commitment to the five-year plan of transportation investment.

o    Build 70 miles of rail line in seven years.

o    Secure additional non-stop international flights for Salt Lake International Airport.

3.     International — Double the value of international merchandise exports:

o    Fund the World Trade Center Utah to maximize its role as a catalyst for international trade development.

o    Organize three international trade missions per year to further establish Utah’s international presence.

o    Provide assistance to companies in identifying market opportunities.

o    Expand hi-tech, knowledge-based manufacturing in Utah by connecting local manufacturers with foreign suppliers of quality components for their products.

o    Continue to welcome foreign dignitaries and delegations to Utah.

4.     Energy — Invest $1 billion in Utah’s energy economy:

o    Support targeted state and federal initiatives to improve Utah’s natural gas infrastructure.

o    Advance sensible utility regulation that encourages capital investment.

o    Promote long-term, cost effective energy development.

o    Support energy innovation by strengthening the partnership between the private sector and Utah higher education through USTAR, the Utah Science, Technology and Research initiative.

5.     Business costs — Secure a third or better ranking among states for the cost of doing business:

o    Advocate for no general tax increases.

o    Support the repeal of the 1099 reporting requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

o    Support state-guided health system reform.

o    Assist businesses in making prudent financial decisions regarding health benefits with an eye on controlling health care costs through purchasing power.

6.     Statewide corporate recruitment — Land three regional headquarters. (Bingham notes that importing jobs to Utah is vitally critical to the state’s economic health. “We need to bring regional headquarters to downtown Salt Lake City,” he says.) Aspects of the Agenda’s corporate recruitment strategy are as follows:

o    Hire a new corporate recruitment professional.

o    Create a business ambassador program.

o    Support the Downtown Rising vision.

o    Create and sustain model partnerships with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), local chambers and other business organizations throughout the state.

7.     Immigration — Create a federally-approved, employer-sponsored work program:

o    Support legislation that is consistent with the principles articulated in The Utah Compact.

o    Step up federal advocacy.

o    Protect business by opposing damaging immigration legislation.

8.     Tax policy — Make incremental improvements in the efficiency, fairness and stability of the Utah tax structure:

o    Advocate for revenue-neutral adjustments that improve our tax code.

9.     Air quality — Attain and maintain the national ambient air quality standards:

o    Support the advancement of Utah’s natural gas infrastructure and encourage businesses, organization and individuals to explore natural gas vehicle options.

o    Support the Natural Gas Act federal legislation (tax incentives for natural gas and CNG vehicle conversion).

o    Support community endeavors to reduce mobile emissions (ex. Clear the Air Campaign, Idle-Free Campaign, etc.).

10.   Rural development — Create a private-led business partnership with representatives from rural Utah:

o    Create model partnerships with local governments and business associations in rural Utah.

o    Convene rural chambers of commerce and create a vision for maximizing Utah’s rural economic assets.

Is it Achievable?
Undergirding the Agenda is optimism and a belief in the power of the Utah economy to not only recover but to prevail. “Everybody else seems to believe in us…Milken Institute, Forbes, Money Magazine, CNBC, Kiplinger, Kaufmann Foundation…It’s time that we start to believe in ourselves and take actions that will put more people back to work,” says Gochnour.

The Utah Jobs Agenda is an ambitious plan. It contemplates the creation of roughly 30,000 jobs per year for five years — approximately twice what the Utah economy is creating now but the amount necessary to get Utah back to full employment. It also calls for significant investment in Utah; however, the plan has been constrained to existing private and public revenues. “As business leaders, we believe in the Utah economy and believe we have the right economic fundamentals to make it happen,” notes Gochnour.

How Will It Get Done?
To achieve the goals of the Utah Jobs Agenda business leaders will work together with each other and Utah’s elected leaders with a “laser-eye focus” on creating jobs. Further, leaders from Utah’s business community say they are prepared to take the requisite steps to meet the Agenda’s goals. Copies of the Utah Jobs Agenda have been delivered to Governor Gary Herbert, legislative leaders, and Utah’s congressional delegation seeking their support. The Agenda is also being shared with county commissioners and mayors throughout the state.

“Economic development is a team sport. We need the full partnership of our elected leaders to be successful. Together, we can propel the Utah economy to be the strongest in the nation,” Gochnour explains.

Business leaders involved in the Utah Jobs Agenda expect 2011 to be a rebuilding year for the Utah economy. Forecasts call for the economy to grow about 1.4 percent, or about 17,000 jobs. “This is about half our historical rate of job growth. In subsequent years, we expect the Utah Jobs Agenda will help to more than double this performance and return the Utah economy to full employment,” says Gochnour.

Businesses responding to Utah Jobs Agenda, hiring

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Last month, when the Salt Lake Chamber rolled out The Utah Jobs Agenda and pledged to create 150,000 jobs over the next five years, it got people talking. After the longest, deepest and widest recession since the Great Depression, it seemed a bit audacious. Seven weeks later, with the recovery taking hold, it’s impressive to see the r business community respond to the clarion call to invest, to innovate and—most importantly—to hire.

This morning, over 100,000 Utahns woke up, got out of bed and wanted to go to work—but they had no job to go to. That number is unacceptably high. Utah’s business community has no higher priority than returning to full employment.

The unemployment level rose dramatically in 2009 when our economy lost around 64,000 jobs. Dating back to 1990, Utah’s economy creates an average of 23,000 jobs per year. That’s a swing of nearly 90,000 jobs or roughly 90 percent of the unemployed workers in our state.

The good news is our economy is growing again. Utah has posted positive job growth figures for seven consecutive months. To reach the goal of 150,000 jobs by 2016, we’ll need to have a few big years—this year’s numbers will be good but not strong enough to keep us on pace. That’s typical with most recoveries; it takes time to build the momentum of job creation, which is larger in subsequent years than in the first.

Already we see evidence of job creation. The day The Utah Jobs Agenda was introduced, Utah’s economy consisted of just over 1.2 million jobs. That number has now increased by 4,400 jobs. Our goal is ambitious, but the tide has turned and we’re slowly picking up steam.

Just look at some of the Utah companies adding jobs:

Adobe Systems, Inc.
1,000 jobs / $100M capital investment

Advanced H2O, LLC
45 jobs / $10M capital investment

Affiliated Computer Systems (a Xerox Company)
200 jobs

ATK
800 jobs / Clearfield

Black Diamond Equipment
55 jobs / $1M capital investment

Crowell Advertising
5 jobs

CSN Stores
868 jobs /Ogden

Czarnowski Display Services
50 jobs / St. George

FLSmidth
150 jobs

Goldman Sachs
1,500 jobs

Goode Ski Technologies
(Moving its entire production line from China to Ogden.)
100 jobs

Harmons
500 jobs

Intermountain Healthcare
(High-skilled IT jobs with opening of Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research.)
300 jobs

JBS USA Holdings, Inc.
(Formerly Swift Foods Company in Hyrum)
420 jobs/$30 million investment

L3 Communications
50-60 jobs

Lighthouse Foods
200 jobs / St. George

Oracle
150 jobs

Overstock
150 jobs / new Provo facility

Post Plus Sound, Inc.
6 jobs

Redcon
5 jobs

Rexnord Industries
10 jobs / $2M capital investment

Sterling ATM
63 retained jobs

Wholefoods
800 jobs

Utah’s year-over job growth from Dec. 2009 to Dec. 2010 (the most recent data available) shows 1.3 percent growth. Highlighting that growth is a 5.0 percent increase in natural resources, 3.8 in education and health, and most impressively, modest growth in construction—something we had not seen in a long time.

There are several other reasons for optimism:

Exports
Over the past five years, Utah merchandise exports have doubled. Just last week, the official 2010 numbers were released and we had another record-breaking year with $13.6 billion in merchandise exports. That comes on the heels of two record years including 2009 when Utah was the only state in the nation to increase merchandise exports.

Consumer spending
In the second quarter of 2010, taxable sales turned positive for the fist time in two years. That indicates consumers feel more confident in their employment situation and more willing to spend.

Construction
Construction jobs increased slightly year-over-year. As important, residential construction permits are expected to climb from 9,300 in 2010 to 11,000 in 2011—the first such increase in three years.

Manufacturing
In the past, the Utah economy has added 500 manufacturing jobs per year on average. Businesses don’t produce goods if they don’t believe there is a market for them. This figure indicates a strengthening belief consumers are ready to purchase.

Federal tax compromise
December’s agreement to extend the Bush Tax Cuts, lower social security withholding and extend unemployment benefits will add $1.4 billion to the Utah economy over the next 2-18 months. That’s more money for consumers to spend and tax breaks for businesses looking to grow.

State revenues
Just last week, newly released state revenue figures indicated an additional $50 million in state coffers. This may allow for additional funds for education—the most essential of investments for sustained prosperity.

After seeing decreases in jobs of 5.1 percent in 2009 and 0.7 percent in 2010, Utah’s economy is expected to see substantial growth over the next few years. Economists from Zions Bank, Moody’s Analytics, the state and the Salt Lake Chamber project growth of 1.0-1.7 percent this year, 1.6-2.7 percent in 2012 and 3.0-3.2 percent in 2013.

The consensus is that expansion is taking hold, indicators are trending in the same positive direction and growth is now self-sustaining. As Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie says, “the strength of our future is jobs.”