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A Department of Commerce report released Wednesday indicates sales of Utah-made prepackaged software escalated $547.1 million between 1987 and 1992, representing the greatest dollar volume increase among the state's service industries during the five-year period.

Peter Generaux, president and chief executive officer of the Utah Information Technologies Association, said the 1992 Census of Service validates Utah is a leading force in the packaged software industry."I'm pleased we have confirmation from the federal government this industry is making a significant impact as these figure suggest," Generaux said. "That industry, in addition, provides job opportunities on average that pay 65 percent better than elsewhere in the Utah economy."

The organization's figures indicate the information technologies industry employs 63,500 Utahns or 8 percent of the state's total non-agricultural work force.

The Commerce Department report also said home health care industry is the fastest growing segment of the service industry in Utah, with sales increasing 777 percent during the five-year period.

Kathleen Fitzgerald, president-elect of the Utah Association of Home Health Agencies, said the dramatic increase has been driven by a need to keep spiraling health care costs in check.

"I believe it's just people enjoying being home and it's more cost effective to keep a person at home than in the hospital," Fitzgerald said.

Home health care enables patients to receive care and treatment once exclusively offered only in hospitals.

"If you get a bone infection and need infusion antibiotics for several weeks, you used to have to spend weeks in the hospital. Now you can get that type of therapy at home," Fitzgerald said.

Spending at medical clinics and doctors' offices dominates the state's service sector. According to the report, Utahns spent $817 million in doctors' offices in 1992, a 58 percent increase from 1992. For all health care services combined, Utahns spent nearly $1.5 billion in 1992, a 83 percent increase between 1987 and 1992.

Utah's service industry is robust, with receipts increasing 95 percent over the five-year period. Receipts were highest in Salt Lake County. Nationwide, receipts increased 58 percent led by healthy service economies in the West.

The report indicates Utah had 138,506 full- and part-time service employees in mid-March 1992, up 48 percent from 1987.

The report surveys service businesses that provide lodging, personal and business services, repair, amusement, health and social services, legal and other professional services. Among major industry groups, business services generated $2.5 billion in receipts, which accounts for 33 percent of service industry receipts in Utah.

The report also indicates Utahns spent more than $386 million on legal services in 1992, up 46 percent from 1987. Spending for child day care increased 80.7 percent over the five-year period to $30 million in 1992.