Utah is one of six states cited as "prospering amid the nation's malaise" by U.S. News & World Report magazine, a position that shouldn't be affected by defense cutbacks, Gov. Norm Bangerter said.
"It makes us feel good, getting that kind of recognition" the governor said after pointing out the article in the July 30 issue of the magazine during his monthly televised press conference on KUED Channel 7.The news magazine labels Utah one of America's six boom states and predicts the "service sector will dominate employment, especially software firms in north-central Utah."
Along with Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Florida, the article states that Utah is "bucking national recessionary trends" by diversifying its economy and taking advantage of international economic change.
Bangerter is scheduled next month to visit Europe and the Pacific Rim, including several Eastern European countries, in an effort to woo overseas investments to Utah.
And although the same changes in global politics that are bringing new investments to the United States are resulting in less money being spent on defense, the governor said he is confident Utah "will come out well."
Two of the state's biggest defense facilities, Hill Air Force Base and the Tooele Army Depot, are too important to the nation's long-term defense strategy to sustain heavy cuts, he said.
Each of the so-called "Healthy Half-Dozen" states is selling quality of life as one of the best incentives they have to offer new businesses, according to the article.
"It doesn't take much to persuade Californians fed up with smog and freeways or Midwesterners tired of blizzards to move where housing costs are lower, streets are safer and the skies are not cloudy all day," the article states.
Utah is no exception, the governor noted, crediting quality of life for helping to attract more than 33,000 new jobs to the state in the past 12 months. The year before, more than 30,000 new jobs were created, he said.
The jobs are needed to make sure the state's large numbers of children will not have to leave Utah to find work, Bangerter said, rather than lure new residents.