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Utah stands to cash in on stimulus money, jobs

Utah stands to cash in on stimulus money, jobs



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No state in the country will be able to boast the kind of effect the stimulus spending will have in Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Utah is getting $2.5 billion in a combination of stimulus money and tax cuts.

The White House expects Utah to get 32,000 jobs. The state could see close to 11,000 jobs in each of the three congressional districts. The White House believes only 12 congressional districts in the nation will get that many jobs.

Economists say Utah should fare well because of its young population and all the money going to schools. Utah's public schools will get nearly $390 million and special education programs will get $105 million. A lot of funding also is going to construction projects here.

"Obviously Utah, with its very strong population growth, there's a lot of infrastructure needs there. So I think the state will be pretty ready to get that money out quickly," said Gus Faucher, director of microeconomics at Moody's Economy.com.

Faucher says a lot of Utah workers will benefit from the $400 per worker tax credit.

"Incomes in Utah tend to be slightly below the national average. It's more likely that workers in Utah will receive those credits than workers in other states," he said.

He also expects the income tax cut will help spur jobs in retail and hospitality. Those are big players in Utah's economy.

Unemployed Utahns will benefit from the federal stimulus plan. According to Utah Workforce Services, the stimulus package extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to the end of the year and increases weekly benefits by $25 per week. Utah has about 44,000 unemployed workers, 10 percent of which would have lost their benefits without the extension.

But the foreclosure rate still could be a problem. Over the next year, 3 percent of Utah homes could be foreclosed. Jim Wood, director of the University of Utah's Bureau of Business and Economic Research told the Deseret News that's a possibility. He says the record in Utah is 2 percent, set in 2002.

Right now, foreclosures are at 1.6 percent, which is just under the national average. Foreclosure filings rose 99.5 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com
E-mail: athomas@ksl.com

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