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Newsweek calls Utah ‘Promised Land' for business

By Nicole Gonzales | Posted - Nov. 8, 2010 at 9:47 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Newsweek article published Monday calls Utah the "New Economic Zion." The article brings attention to the state's ability to bring in new companies, even in the recession, and is creating quite the buzz with Utah economy insiders.

A couple of years ago, Oracle broke ground on a West Jordan facility. More recently, Twitter announced its arrival in Utah with a data center in Bluffdale. Last month, Adobe revealed where it's new state-of-the-art facility would be: Lehi.

Now, Newsweek is calling Utah the economic "Promised Land."

"From a recruiting standpoint, it's phenomenal for us," says Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Eccles and his counterparts are thrilled to be getting so much praise. Both Newsweek and Forbes magazine agree that Utah is one of the best in the nation at bringing companies to the state.

The governor's office estimates that in the past three years, Utah has added billions of dollars in new wages -- over $3 billion in 2010. As for jobs, the office says the state peaked in 2008 adding close to 5,000; this year it's 4,200.

So what's Utah's appeal?

"It comes down to the people," Eccles says. "We've got great people here; and the other thing is we've created an environment that enables companies to grow."

The state has sustained an average of 3.5 percent annual growth in the last five years, trailing only North Dakota.

Utah's reputation as ultra-conservative and overwhelmingly white and Mormon isn't turning business away. In fact, it's boosting it.

"They've heard things about Utah, and yet when they get here they find out that this is not only a wonderful place to live, but the people because of the culture," Eccles says.

It's a culture that's winning businesses and jobs, which means money.

The governor's office says it's focusing on education, especially college-level, because an educated workforce is necessary to continue bringing business to Utah.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

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Nicole Gonzales

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