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HIGH TECH GROWING AT HIGH RATE IN UTAH VALLEY

Utah Valley's high-tech industries set a rec-ord for growth in 1991.

According to a report released Monday by the Utah Valley Economic Development Association, annual high-tech sales increased 28 percent and the employment base increased by 2,300 jobs last year."Total sales of Utah Valley's high-tech businesses are estimated at $2.3 billion annually, surpassing last year's record of $1.8 billion by 28 percent, the fastest annual increase on rec-ord," the report said. The number of people employed in high tech now exceeds 11,500.

Association Director Richard Bradford said the average growth prior to 1991 was close to 20 percent.

"We have been keeping rec-ords of high-tech growth since 1984. . . . The growth continues to amaze us. This year we were shocked to see it was nearly 30 percent," Bradford said.

Bradford's office is conducting a survey to identify high-tech centers in the United States and hopes to compare Utah Valley's growth with the rest of the country. Last year, Utah Valley was ranked third behind Silicon Valley, Calif., and Bellevue, Wash., for high-tech industry.

"I'll still say we're third. Bellevue - our main competition - is growing just as fast as we are," Bradford said.

Utah Valley is expected to be second, however, in software sales. "We're backing a software powerhouse here," Bradford said. "As far as software is concerned, we're ahead of Silicon Valley."

Also listed in the association's report was an increase of 38 businesses in the past 12 months.

"Those 38 new businesses are a net increase. We had 15 failures out of 53 businesses that were created last year," Bradford said.

The association considers any business high-tech if it produces a product requiring a high degree of technical input, which includes more than electronics or computer production.

"We have companies working in composites like Fibertech of Alcoa and machinists like Valteck and Teleflex," Bradford said.

A total of 175 high-tech businesses are included in the association's report.