Zions Report Says Utah Has Strong Economic Outlook

(KCPW News)  A new report from Zions Bank says Utah is in good position to continue its strong economic rebound for the rest of 2011, and will be even stronger into the next two years. Zions Executive Vice President Rob Brough says several factors, including the fiscal management of the state, play into this optimism.

“We also have real strength in the technology sector which is continuing to see strong growth and also brings with it higher paying jobs,” says Brough. “Those are a couple of things that have put Utah in a particular place of strength.”

The report says Utah’s current pace of job creation ranks among the leaders in the West and among the nation’s top 10. The state added about 18,000 jobs in 2010 after losing more than 60,000 the previous two years.

According to the report, a key to the state’s economic growth revolves around export opportunities. Utah was the only state in the nation to see exports double over the last five years, and Brough says the state has done a good job of identifying opportunities for local businesses.

“Export related employment now accounts for over 93,000 jobs in Utah, which is twice the level of what it was 5 years ago. So as we become an increasingly international state in terms of where we do business, the state will continue to see the type of growth that we’re seeing,” says Brough.

The report says Utah’s unemployment rate, which has averaged 7.6% in recent months, is expected to lower as employment gains return to traditional levels.