UTAH DROUGHT

Salt Lake Chamber president talks about fixing shortages in housing, labor and water in Utah

Jan 24, 2023, 6:00 PM

A “now hiring” sign is pictured at Salt Lake Running Company in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. ...

A “now hiring” sign is pictured at Salt Lake Running Company in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News )

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News )

SALT LAKE CITY — Derek Miller, the president and CEO of Salt Lake Chamber, explains how Utah is facing a series of shortages — from water to labor to housing — that require unity from the Utah Legislature and businesses to find solutions.

He joins Inside Sources guest hosts Derek Brown and Leah Murray to discuss his opinion piece in the Deseret News:

Opinion: Utah is facing a lot of shortages. Good policy could fix them

Housing shortage 

Miller said demand for housing is high and the supply of homes is low, and that is driving up prices. 

“We are focused as a chamber, as a business association, on what can we do to remove the barriers and some of the things that are unnecessarily adding costs to homes.

“We are just at a point right now where we can’t have some city saying, ‘We don’t want multifamily housing in our town or in our city,” he said. 

“So if a city has kind of dug in its heels on the nimbyism [not in my backyard-ism] aspect that you talked about, how do you persuade them to come together with you to see the greater good?” Leah asked.

“There are incentives that the Legislature could give to a community to provide more affordable housing, but there also may need to be a stick where there are some determents that they don’t want to have if they’re not willing to provide this kind of housing,” Miller said.

He added the chamber supports additional funding for homeless resources, but those dollars must be matched with enforcement of existing laws.

Worker shortage

“So you cite in your article that we’ve had one of the most severe worker shortages in the nation. How do you meet that challenge?” Leah asked.

Miller said Utah has the second lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.1%. For Utah businesses, their No. 1 challenge is a shortage of workers.

One of those barriers to entering the workforce is the cost of childcare, he said.

“The report we released showed that almost $600 per month, per household is spent on childcare,” Miller said. “The chamber has for a long time advocated for immigration reform to increase the opportunity for lawful legal immigration.”

Water shortage

“Then the third one — seems like everyone is talking about — which is water. How do you fix that? What is the business community doing? What do they have on their agenda to try to address that challenge?” Leah asked.

Miller said conserving water is no longer enough. And tearing out the grass strip in front of homes is not going to solve the problem, either.

“But we also need to have a very serious — even though it is a very difficult conversation — about where the majority of our water is being used in Utah. And once we understand those facts and where the majority of water is being used, it will  lead us to the right decisions and the right solutions,” Miller said.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard on weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Related reading:

Here are the top 3 most impacted industries of the labor shortage

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Utah Drought

Multi-directional sprinkler system (canva)...

Mitchell von Puttkammer

Water conservation in your Utah garden

Water conservation in a Utah garden can include installing smart sprinkler systems. And the state can help defray the cost!

1 day ago

Southern arm of Great Salt Lake...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Great Salt Lake’s southern arm reaches ‘significant’ level as spring rise slows down

The southern arm of Great Salt Lake reached an optimal level this week however, experts believe the lake will recede this summer.

11 days ago

FILE: The Colorado River is pictured near Moab in Grand County on Friday, April, 26, 2024....

Adam Small

New study suggests climate change could help Colorado River

University of Colorado at Boulder researchers predict that climate change will increase precipitation in Upper Basin states like Utah.

16 days ago

great salt lake shown, lithium in the lake is attracting companies...

Adam Small

Great Salt Lake level reaches seven-year high

Great Salt Lake now sits at 4,195.1 feet above sea level, more than 6.5 feet higher than its all-time historic low in late 2022.

17 days ago

Deer Creek Reservoir in Wasatch County pictured....

Allessandra Harris Gurr

Average Utah reservoir level 30% higher than last year

The average reservoir in Utah is at 88% capacity or 30% higher than last year.

17 days ago

A man, who asked not to be named, walks with his umbrella under snow-covered trees at Liberty Park ...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Utah’s latest spring storm slows snowmelt, adds to snowpack

Some areas of Salt Lake County saw two inches of snow from this late spring storm in Utah.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Salt Lake Chamber president talks about fixing shortages in housing, labor and water in Utah