Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Brief Profile of Utah’s Educational Attainment

Mark Knold, Supervising Economist

Every calendar quarter the Workforce Research and Analysis team puts together its Local Insights summary. The term “local” means analyzing data down to the county level. Local Insights is a combination of producing a local snapshot of the county consisting of its current labor market variables, statistics, and narrative summation, and then adding to this a “feature article” in blog form centered upon some common theme the team of economists choose. Oftentimes this theme will be prompted by a new economic data release. For this quarter (first quarter 2016) that release is the most recent U.S. Census Bureau county-level demographic profile through its American Community Survey. The economists chose to look at that survey’s educational attainments of Utah’s resident county populations.

Although the data go as deep as the county level, statewide data are also available. Highlights of Utah’s statewide educational attainment (for the population 25 years and older) are as follows:

• 91 percent of Utah’s population has graduated from high school, compared with 86 percent across the entire nation.

 • In Utah, 68 percent have achieved some schooling beyond just a high school diploma, compared to 58 percent nationally. When dissecting this down to the male and female level, this 10-percentage point advantage over the national average still holds.

• Utah has higher percentages of Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree achievements than the nation, but slightly less Advanced degree achievement than the nation.

 • Females have achieved slightly more education beyond high school graduation than have Utah males.

 • Utah males though have achieved nearly double the amount of Advanced degrees than have Utah females.

• Females have achieved a noticeably higher quantity of Associate’s degrees than have Utah males. The Bachelor’s degree comparison is fairly even.

• Utah’s veteran population is better educated than the national average. Only 9 percent have less than a high school education compared with 14 percent nationally. 68 percent have some schooling beyond a high school degree compared to 58 percent nationally.

• Attaining more education corresponds with having a lower unemployment rate. In Utah, those with less than a high school diploma have an 11 percent unemployment rate. With a high school diploma, 8 percent. Some college no degree, 5 percent, and with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 3 percent. All of these unemployment rates are lower than the corresponding national averages. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Adjusting Wages for the Cost of Living and Taxes


Scott Smith, Regional Economist 

Workforce Services analysts have previously written about Regional Price Parities and how local costs of living differ because of geographic differences and scarcities. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates Regional Price Parities (RPPs) accounting for the cost of living differences across specific locations. RPPs measure the differences in the price levels of goods and services across state and metropolitan areas for a given year. RPPs are expressed as a percentage of the overall national price level, with the national average equaling 100.
Another factor that can be adjusted for when comparing costs of living across areas is federal taxation. Higher nominal incomes are subject to higher tax rates. People in “high income” New York City should pay more in federal taxes than people in “lower income” areas like Logan, Utah. When one looks across different regions, not only can the differing cost of goods and services be adjusted for RPP, but the additional loss in taxes may also be considered.
Table 1 shows median wages[1] from large and very small metropolitan statistical areas adjusted for purchasing power and taxes.

Table 1

Purchasing Power and Tax Adjusted Wages for Selected Areas

Median Wage
Spread  Above SLC
Excess Tax Due
  After Tax Income
RPP
After Tax Wages
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Division
37,950
2,170
217
37,733
106.6
35,397
Coeur d'Alene, ID
30,440
-5,340
-534
30,974
92.8
33,377
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
36,880
1,100
110
36,770
100.6
36,551
Logan, UT-ID
29,010
-6,770
-677
29,687
90.6
32,767
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA  Metropolitan Division
38,100
2,320
232
37,868
117.7
32,173
Manhattan, KS
30,970
-4,810
-481
31,451
92.8
33,891
Mansfield, OH
29,590
-6,190
-619
30,209
88
34,328
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
45,200
9,420
942
44,258
122.3
36,188
Ogden-Clearfield, UT
33,120
-2,660
-266
33,386
95.9
34,813
Provo-Orem, UT
31,100
-4,680
-468
31,568
97.3
32,444
Salisbury, MD
31,370
-4,410
-441
31,811
89.8
35,424
Salt Lake City, UT
35,780
0
0
35,780
99.7
35,888
St. George, UT
28,990
-6,790
-679
29,669
94.3
31,462
St. Joseph, MO-KS
29,410
-6,370
-637
30,047
89.2
33,685
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division
51,120
15,340
1,710
49,410
119.8
41,244

Source: BLS,BEA

Monday, December 7, 2015

Conspicuous Consumption?

New data shows Utah’s personal consumption expenditures increased in 2014 

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Don’t tax my income, tax my consumption.” Bill Gates

Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its first set of official personal consumption expenditures data for states. More commonly referred to as “consumer spending,” this data adds another indicator to our arsenal of economic analytics. Just what are personal consumption expenditures? They represent goods and services purchased by (or in behalf of) households. These expenditures represent a two-thirds piece of gross domestic product pie and are often the driver of growth in the economy. Yeah, they are kind of important.

The following visualization provides personal consumption expenditures data for the U.S. and all 50 states from 1997 to 2014. However, let’s be honest, we’re primarily interested in our own little corner of the world. So, what do the data tell us about the Utah economy?

• Between 2013 and 2014, Utah’s personal consumption expenditures grew by 5.3 percent registering the fifth-fastest growth rate in the country. Overall, U.S. expansion measured 4.1 percent.

• In 2013, Utah showed the second-fastest personal consumption expenditures growth in the nation, second only to oil-booming North Dakota.

• On a per capita basis, 2014 expenditures grew at a somewhat slower rate (3.8 percent) thanks to strong population growth in the Beehive State. Utah’s growth rate ranking dropped to 11 when per capita expenditures are compared.

• Since the beginning of the recovery in mid-2009, Utah’s expenditures have shown strong expansion. Nationally, growth has also improved although the rate of growth peaked in 2011.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Moving on or putting down roots?

Where Utahns were born and where they live now  

by Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Men and women are limited not by the place of their birth, not by the color of their skin, but by the size of their hope.” John Harold Johnson

Do you live in the state of your birth? According to American Community Survey data, the answer to that question is influenced both by your birthplace and your current place of residence.

We love Utah 
According to 2014 tabulations, 62 percent of Utah’s population was born here in the Beehive State. While Utah doesn’t rank in the top tier of states with the highest shares of birthplace-residing individuals, it is unusual in the mobile West. Utah is surrounded by states with relatively low shares of birthplace-residing populations. In fact, neighboring Nevada sports the lowest share in the nation with only 26 percent of present residents indicating they were born in the state. Utah’s cultural preference for close family ties undoubtedly plays a role in its higher-than-average western ranking.



Most states with high percentages of populations born in their current state of residence are located in the geographic center of the United States. In Louisiana, almost 78 percent of the population was born in-state. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also showed shares greater than 73 percent.