Although employment and payroll at Hill Air Force Base declined for the first time in 10 years in 1987, the base generated $1.3 billion for Utah's economy last year, Air Force figures show.

A report from the base Cost Branch Office shows Hill's civilian payroll totaled $468.3 million in 1987, down from the 1986 civilian payroll of $478.4 million.However, Hill's payroll still accounted for more than 4 percent of the total $11 billion payroll of Utah businesses last year, Utah Job Service Economist Ray Sargent said.

Sargent said approximately one out of every 25 payroll dollars in Utah is generated at Hill. With base civilian employment at 14,816 last year, he said Hill provides one of every 50 jobs in Utah. The 1987 employment figure declined from 15,926 in 1986.

"It would be a major blow to the state of Utah if Hill weren't here," he said.

With wages, retirement benefits, taxes and the "multiplier effect" generated by base workers spending their money at Utah businesses, Hill contributed $1.3 billion to the state economy in 1987. The Air Force estimates that the base produced 10,354 secondary jobs in companies doing business with Hill or at firms where Hill workers and retirees shop and eat.

The report also states that Hill generated $389.1 million in civilian and military retirement benefits last year. Those retirees in turn generated almost $300 million more for the state economy by spending their money in Utah, the report said.

Not surprisingly, Davis and Weber counties benefit substantially from Hill.

More than 7,000 civilian workers at Hill live in Davis County. These workers earned $218.2 million in 1987. About 4,300 military people live in Davis County, and their payroll was $100.1 million last year, bringing the total to $318.4 million in wages paid to civilian and military Hill workers in Davis County.

Weber County is home to more than 6,700 civilian workers at Hill who earned $207.9 million in 1987. The 626 military personnel who live in Weber County earned $14.3 million, bringing the total Hill payroll for Weber County residents to $222.3 million last year, according to the Air Force.

Base civilian employment accounts for nearly 10 percent of the jobs in Weber and Davis counties, according to Job Service figures.

Besides its sizeable payroll, Hill awarded $155 million to Utah contractors in 1987, said Pat Lindsey, chief of the base Small Business Office.