Utah’s economy booming

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    By Sarah Stuart

    Utah’s economy was among the highest in the nation in the 1990s, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Economics and Statistics Administration.

    Utah had the third largest gain nationally in gross state product from 1992 to 1998, the Deseret News reported from its Washington Bureau. Gross state product is the value added to goods by production in a state.

    Utah’s gross state product increased an average of 6.9 percent per year between 1992 to 1998, compared to the national average of 3.9 percent.

    “Utahns are pretty well-educated and that attracts businesses to this area,” said BYU Economics professor Scott Bradford.

    The Utah 2000 Economic Report to the Governor said Utah is the 6th fastest growing state in terms of job creation.

    Richard Bradford, CEO of the Utah Valley Economic Development Association, said the high tech industry will continue to boost Utah’s economy through computers and software applications.

    Under Gov. Leavitt’s summary of economic conditions, construction continues to be the fastest growing industry in the Utah economy. Utah’s construction boom is in its 9th year, and the total value of permitted construction reached another all-time high in 1999.

    Projects just completed or close to completion include the $108 million Jordan Commons, the $312 million North-South TRAX (Light Rail), and the $240 million Conference Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Utah’s exports include coal, copper, equipment and chemicals. From 1995 to 1998 these exports brought in $3.6 billion according to Gov. Leavitt’s summary.

    Other states in the top 10 were Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Idaho, Georgia and Texas.

    Hawaii had the worst gross state product, which decreased an average of 0.5 percent a year between 1992 and 1998.

    Alaska’s also dropped an average of 0.4 percent during the same period.

    Eight of the top 10 states were in the West; seven of the last 10 were in the East.

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