BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Utah continues to sees job growth in key industries

Feb 16, 2024, 11:30 AM

Utah jobs...

Connor Perkett and Hunter Harmer of EspriGas discuss work while in their office at Work Hive in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. (Scott G. Winterton)

(Scott G. Winterton)

SALT LAKE CITY —  While Utah’s economy is strong in many areas, one business expert says there are three industries he expects to grow faster than all the others.

The Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek Miller said Utah’s economy continues to lead the nation in several key industries.

Industries growing in Utah

Miller said several industries are growing in Utah, there are three to watch: tourism, information technology and medical device manufacturing.

“This is a growing field because we have an aging population in this country. And so, you know health care and medical devices… and combine it with just the great health care that we have overall,” Miller said.

According to Miller, another thing helping medical manufacturing grow is that our colleges and universities are producing graduates who are ready to take the industry even further. 

The importance of AI

Additionally, Miller said Utah is well placed to take advantage of the rapidly expanding artificial intelligence industry. Miller recently sat down with Taylor Randall, the president of the University of Utah.

“We talked about creating a policy center in Utah attached to the University of Utah, but part of the business Community as well.”

According to Miller, the center would become a driver of policy around artificial intelligence.

“And so, this is you know, all groundbreaking stuff and it just bodes very well for our economy, especially in the IT industry,” Miller explained. 

 Even though there have been layoffs in information technology businesses across the country, the industry grew here in Utah last year.

“The information technology [sector] is growing at 6%. I think that the growth opportunity is even higher than that. This has a lot to do with artificial intelligence and the positioning of our universities to be able to produce students who are experts in this brand new field,” said Miller. 

Utah’s resilience 

According to Miller, Utah has a history of industry growth even when times are tough. 

“This is a very similar dynamic that we saw during the Great Recession and in ’08 and ’09. Even though Utah had a net job loss during the Great Recession, it was much less than other states. Why? Because businesses were actually moving jobs to Utah,” said Miller. 

Miller said just like households, businesses look to see where they can save money. 

“They’re focused on the bottom line like never before. A big focus on the bottom line is where is there a more cost-efficient place for me to put jobs or run my operations?” asked Miller. “Utah became that place during the Great Recession and we saw that happen during the pandemic as well. And that’s the way that we’re able to grow jobs, even though other places and specific industries may be losing them.”

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Utah continues to sees job growth in key industries