The Beehive State stands as an example for the nation when it comes to a premier business climate, innovative policies and economic growth. Utah’s success is no accident.
In fact, the state’s culture of collaboration has been vital in addressing the challenges of an increasingly competitive global economy. Utah is showing the world what’s possible when business leaders and lawmakers work together to find common ground.
These four accomplishments, ranging from international events and leading immigration policies to technological innovations and an award-winning economy, are premier examples of Utah’s collaborative spirit.
For the sixth time in seven years, Utah has earned the top spot as the “Best State for Business” by Forbes magazine; CNBC has named Utah the “Top State for Business”for the second consecutive year; and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has ranked the Beehive State No. 1 for economic outlook every year since 2008. Utah consistently earns such high marks due to its regulatory climate, fiscally sound government and steady job growth.
Additionally, the most recent job report showed Utah’s employment rate for February 2017 grew 3.3 percent, adding 45,700 jobs to the economy over the past year — nearly twice the nation’s pace in job creation.
In the 1960s, the Salt Lake Chamber pitched Salt Lake City as a host city for the 1972 Olympics. However, it would take another three decades before that dream would be fulfilled and for the world to experience the Greatest Snow on Earth®. NBC President Dick Ebersol called the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, “Far and away the most successful Olympics, summer or winter, in history.”
The International Olympic Committee claims the Games have the power to deliver lasting benefits that can change a community, its image and its infrastructure. That’s certainly true for Utah. Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah said, “Here we sit in 2017, and I would tell you the economic impact of the Games is greater in 2017 than it was in 2002 or 2003, and we have a more prosperous community as a result.”
3. The Utah Compact
Time and time again, Utah leaders have found common ground on divisive issues such as nondiscrimination laws, common-sense regulation, and immigration reform. One of the biggest steps the Beehive State has taken on immigration reform was the creation of the Utah Compact.
Signed in 2010, the Utah Compact is a statement of guiding principles that asserts immigration as a federal issue, while urging federal officials to create humane immigration policies and emphasizing that reform should focus on keeping families together. A broad coalition of business leaders, community advocates, law enforcement officials, lawmakers and church leaders signed the Compact.
In the years since its creation, more than 10,000 Utahns have signed the Compact, and many states have borrowed from it to forge their own agreements on immigration.
4. Silicon Slopes
Utah’s Silicon Slopes is showing signs it may take the reigns from its tech-giant predecessor. Salt Lake City has been named by Forbes magazine as the top “2017 Tech Mecca” poised to overthrow Silicon Valley.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah added the greatest number of tech jobs in the country during the first six months of 2016. At 7.69 percent, the Beehive State added twice as many tech jobs as California, which saw only 3.42 percent in tech job growth.
Another indicator of the state’s growing tech market is the amount of investment being made into Utah’s Silicon Slopes. Venture capital funding has skyrocketed from $299 million in 2013 to $732 million in 2015. Salt Lake’s stable workforce, top-ranking tech universities, attractive climate and low cost of living were named as reasons why tech companies are moving to the Beehive State.