BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Gov. Cox touts new economic vision post-vaccine rollout

Mar 29, 2021, 8:37 AM
Utah Returnship Program...
Governor Spencer Cox is touting a new economic vision for Utah once the state's vaccine rollout is complete. (PHOTO: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Governor Spencer Cox is touting a new economic vision for Utah once the state’s vaccine rollout is complete. 

Shifting economic focus

Governor Cox says he spent plenty of time studying the economic history of the state throughout the ’80s, ’90s and into the 2000s. That’s a period where Utah routinely found itself in the bottom half or third of state economies across the country.

A lot has changed since then and he believes the economy of the Beehive State is in a unique position to takeoff post-pandemic.

“It’s time to focus on broader opportunities,” he tells the Deseret News.

He’s championing what would equate to a strategic pivot. The overall goal is to focus inward, rather than outside state borders, to nurture further expansion.

“We can also focus on workforce development and investing in our people instead of just investing in new jobs,” he explains. “And making sure our people are able to get those jobs.”

Evaluating job importing 

Governor Cox says it’s time to evaluate the entire footprint of job importing, which may include negative factors that contribute to air quality and traffic congestion challenges. 

“We bring in a company that’s going to hire 500 employees, and they bring 475 from other states. Maybe that is OK, but we should have all of the information in front of us,” he says. “Both the benefits and the costs. We still might make the same decision, but we should only do so when we also know all the consequences.”

Another focus for the new administration will be pushing economic growth to areas that have so far struggled to find their footing. The governor has commented in the past that most of the concentration has been on the I-15 corridor.

Utah will also find itself in the unique position of emerging from the pandemic with relatively low unemployment. The state’s February rate of 3.0% came in at less than half the 6.2% national average.

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Gov. Cox touts new economic vision post-vaccine rollout