Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Utah's Economic Diversity and Jobs in 2016

By Cory Stahle, Regional Economist


Analysis upon preliminary employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Utah finished 2016 with the sixth most industrially-diverse economy in the nation. While there are several ways to measure an economy’s industrial diversity, this analysis applied a statistical measure called the Hachman Index upon the annual BLS employment data for each state. For more on the Hachman index visit the following.


In addition to balanced industry employment, Utah also ranked first for job growth in 2016 and tied for third in GDP growth. This means that in 2016, Utah landed in the top 10 for all three indicators. The only other state to do this was Georgia.

The visualization below shows the Hachman Index and year-over employment and GDP changes by state for the past 15 years. Some of the highlights include:


  • Utah’s diversity index has ranked in the top 10 every year between 2002 and 2016.
  • Utah ranked first for year-over job growth in 2016 for the second consecutive year.
  •  In addition to the top spot last year, Utah posted top 10 employment growth in 10 of the last 15 years, with nine of those years in the top 5.
  • GDP growth in Utah has measured in the top 10 for the last four years.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Is Your Town Growing?

U.S. Census Bureau releases 2016 City Population Estimates


By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time” –Patrick Geddes

Most of Utah’s cities and towns grew in 2017, according to population estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Lehi even ranked 11th among the nation’s fastest-growing large cities. However, not all Utah’s cities and towns experienced growth.

Use the visualization and bullet points below to explore population trends for individual townships.


• The old Geneva Steel Mill site continues to be fertile ground for population expansion. Vineyard was once again the fastest growing city in Utah. However its rate of growth has slowed dramatically since 2015. In addition, Vineyard remains relatively small in size.

• Herriman added the highest number of new residents of any city in Utah (4,550) followed by Orem, Lehi and South Jordan. All showed higher population gains than Salt Lake City — Utah’s most populous city. Herriman also showed the second-fastest rate of expansion in 2016.

• St. George was the only city outside the Wasatch Front to increase its population by more than 2,000 residents.

• The top four population-gaining cities in Utah are all located in southern Salt Lake County or northern Utah County, as the metropolitan population continued to spread outward from the large city centers. Fastest-growing larger communities also tended to be located near the Salt Lake County/Utah County border.

• Due to the nature of percent-change mathematics, several small towns (such as Monticello, Mantua, Francis, Interlaken and Hideout) showed high growth rates although their new-resident counts measured relatively low.

• The Census Bureau estimates that most of the cities and towns showing population declines were located in the Uintah Basin, Carbon County and Emery County. Declines in resource-based employment have spearheaded these population declines.

• In addition, Millard, Piute, Garfield and Wayne counties displayed a significant number of contracting townships.

• Salt Lake County remains home to five of the 10 largest cities in the state. Utah County accounts for another two in the top 10. St. George is the only city in the top-10 ranking located outside the Wasatch Front.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Understanding Utah’s Future Skill and Knowledge Needs

The Utah Department of Workforce Services releases Skill and Knowledge-based Projections

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.” Wilbur Wright

The following skill and knowledge projections suggest that the foundation for future workforce preparation relies on those old favorites “readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic.” Technical skills and knowledge areas are also important, but rely on an excellent foundation in basic skill and knowledge areas.

• Utah occupational projections and the Occupational Information Network (O*Net) provide the foundation for these skills and knowledge estimates.

• “Basic Skills” dominate the top 10 in-demand skills, suggesting a need to ensure training on “the basics” for all prospective workers.

• Basic skills needs cross occupational and educational boundaries. • Basic skills make changing occupations possible as the labor market changes.

• Communication skills and reading rank highest on the top skills list, followed by critical thinking. • The top five skill and knowledge areas are the same for every region of the state.

• The top 10 in-demand skills change very little regardless of the occupational training level.

• Customer Service ranks, by far, as the knowledge area with the highest projected demand.

• For occupations requiring formal training past the high school level, competence in English, computers/electronics, and mathematics becomes increasingly important — although these skills are in demand for employment at all training levels.

• Short-term shortages for certain technical skills may seem to displace the overarching need for all workers to have a strong foundation in basic skills in training discussions.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Who Works for Big (and Small) Business?

Local Employment Dynamics Provide Insight into Firm-Size Demographics

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Running businesses of all sizes and stages, I've seen the challenges companies face in trying to identify, attract, and retain talent.” --Brian Lee

Economists at the Utah Department of Workforce Services have often used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics (LED) program to analyze Utah’s labor market and economy. In this blog post, we use LED information to analyze the demographics of firm size employment. Keep in mind that firm size is only tracked for private firms.

Click through the gray story points in the visualization below to explore employment and demographic data by firm size. Bullets in each page outline trends and patterns for each chart. Use the interactive dropdown menus to discover information for individual counties and industries.