Utah’s Economic Advantages

In this article, Salt Lake Chamber communication director Marty Carpenter argues an important point:

Make no mistake about it; Utah is in direct competition with the other 49 states in the union and our global peers when it comes to attracting businesses.

So true. The same could be said of Provo as it competes with neighboring cities.

Carpenter concludes in the article that Utah does a good job of attracting business, pointing out that companies from California particularly like to come here. He also mentions a number of interesting things that give Utah a competitive advantage. All of his points make me hopeful for the future of the state.

But what about the future of Provo? The mayor recently wrote that the city’s sales tax revenue continues to improve, and developments like the NuSkin expansion and the convention center will surely help. But it’s also hard not to notice that on mayor’s list of sales tax, we’re  still not one of the top growth cities.



Filed under construction, Development, economics, Provo, utah

4 responses to “Utah’s Economic Advantages

  1. Nathan

    I disagree that we are in direct competition with the other 49 states. Utah isn’t seeking (nor should we) the molasses and sugar jobs from Hawaii, coal from West Virginia, or railroad equipment from Pennsylvania. Let those goods and services be produced in the states that have a comparative advantage and we will all be better off.

    We should, however, be exploiting our advantages in Credit & Finance, Energy, and Outdoor Products and Recreation.

  2. I definitely agree with you that there are some jobs — often linked to natural resources — that are not and should not come to Utah. But when it comes to jobs related to Credit and Finance, for example, I’d say we are competing with others; after all those jobs could theoretically go to Hawaii or Pennsylvania just as easily as Utah.

    But I guess it seems to me like we’re talking about the same thing (if it isn’t too presumptuous of me to say that): making Utah competitive in the areas the state is specifically trying to target.

  3. Nathan

    Yes, we should build up our state, and Provo, to make it as attractive as possible to do business. We also shouldn’t look at the overall economy as zero-sum, but more like growing the size of the pie rather than each person getting their own slice until it’s gone.

  4. Again, I agree. I think this is particularly apparent on the local level; Provo has nothing to gain by seeing Orem fail, for example, and vice versa. As a general rule, I think we want to our entire society’s economy to expand (and we can define our “society” as broadly or narrowly as we want). But on a case by case basis I think we are still competing. For example, if I find out a big employer is going to relocate, I want that employer to come to Utah, not another state. If they’re deciding between Orem and Provo, I naturally want them to choose Provo.

    Lehi, for example, likely stands to gain more than Provo by the arrival of Adobe. There are a finite (if difficult to quantify) number of benefits from this single addition to the state economy, and I wish Provo was reaping more of those benefits. In other words, I wish Provo and Lehi could both get big new businesses, but if it has to be one or the other (as it is in this case) I’d rather it be Provo. (I’m speaking theoretically here. I realize Provo may not have been in contention for Adobe.)

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