Report: Utah's economic recovery further away than other states

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SALT LAKE CITY -- According to national economic forecasters, Utah might take a little longer to recover from the recession than other states. A report indicates states with strong technology markets will recover the quickest.

An economic research company,, says there are five states that will lead our country out of the recession by fall 2009: Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

The analysis took into account labor markets, income, credit, real estate and consumer spending. Moody's says those states have high concentrations of high-tech companies, which are high paying jobs.

"Technology companies in the state pay 58 percent above the average wage in the state," explained Richard Nelson, CEO of the Utah Technology Council.

Analysts say the next wave will be at the end of 2009. It includes Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina and the Dakotas. Then, finally, in the start of 2010: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming. Nowhere is Utah mentioned, meaning we might not see the light until the summer of next year.

The study indicates that leading states have not been hit hard by the housing bust. James Wood at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research says Utah fell into a hole when construction jobs went from a 10 percent sector to 30 percent.

"It was really a construction-, real estate-, finance-driven boom, and once that turned we were quite vulnerable," Wood said.

Although our technology sector only counts for 6 percent of our job force, Nelson says it's quickly growing. "The majority of our companies are continuing to grow. They're optimistic," he said.

In fact, a survey the council took showed that nearly 60 percent of company leaders said their business was growing. Only 52 CEOs were surveyed out of the state's 5,500 high-tech companies.


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Nicole Gonzales


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