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TAXABLE SALES IN UTAH GREW 6.2% IN 1990 - DESPITE GULF CONFLICT

Taxable sales in Utah grew 6.2 percent during 1990 despite the gulf conflict, and Utah's business executives seem happy with the growth, according to reports by the Utah Tax Commission.

The commission said fourth-quarter growth in 1990 was slowed by rising gasoline costs and the impending Middle East conflict, however an overall continued expansion of the economy bolstered confidence in Utah business people.Quarterly growth in Utah had clipped along at between 6 percent and 8 percent every quarter since 1988 until October 1990, when growth slowed to 4.4 percent, said commission spokeswoman Janice Perry.

The commission has issued a report detailing taxable retail sale and purchases for the year, breaking the economy into three major sectors: "Retail Trade," "Business Equipment Investment" and "Taxable Services."

In the last quarter of 1990, retail trade rose 6.2 percent, the same as overall taxable sales. Taxable services increased 4.9 percent, up considerably from a first-quarter gain of just .9 percent.

Strongest growth was recorded in the area of business equipment investment, which rose 8.4 percent and totalled $3.95 billion, nearly surpassing the $4 billion mark for the first time in five years.

The Tax Commission has also quizzed Utah business executives, who seem optimistic about the Beehive State's business climate.

With a score of 50 reflecting a belief the economy was about the same, and a score of 75 indicating moderate improvement, the survey showed most executives believe things were picking up in the second quarter of 1991.

The index for large businesses, which had been sliding since it peaked at 63 in the first quarter of 1990, rebounded to a 53 in January 1991 and improved further to 59 in April.

The survey is a random sampling of business people from companies of varying sizes by the University of Utah Research Center.