Lack of Workers, Not Work, Weighs on the Nation’s Economy

May 21, 2017 (New York Times) - After eight years of steady growth, the main economic concern in Utah and a growing number of other states is no longer a lack of jobs, but a lack of workers. The unemployment rate here fell to 3.1 percent in March, among the lowest figures in the nation. Nearly a third of the 388 metropolitan areas tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have an unemployment rate below 4 percent, well below the level that … Continued

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Op-ed: Building energy efficiency to improve air quality

May 21, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) - In the Utah Foundation’s 2016 Utah Priorities Project survey, Utah voters statewide ranked air quality as the second most important issue in 2016, and voters along the Wasatch Front ranked air quality as the number one most important issue. This won’t be news to anyone. In fact, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2017 report ranks the Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem area as the seventh worst in the U.S. for shorter-term spikes in particle … Continued

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National Monuments: A Sober Discussion

May 18, 2017 (GearJunkie) - And it’s hardly a coincidence that Trump’s executive order extends back to 1996, the year President Bill Clinton created the controversial Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Among other things, the 1.7-million-acre designation essentially put the kibosh on a proposed coal project in the now-protected Kaiparowits Plateau. The return of such projects is not inevitable, though. It depends on the economic incentives and a company’s willingness to invest in land that might carry heightened … Continued

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Utah Foundation: Construction, Technology Fields Short-Staffed; Social Expectations To Blame

May 15, 2017 (Utah Public Radio) - A new report released in May by the Utah Foundation shows that several skill-intensive industries in Utah are hard-pressed for new-hires with the right skills. While local employers can fill bachelor-level positions relatively quickly, Utahns lack skills in construction, technology and trades. Christopher Collard, a research analyst with the Utah Foundation, said social expectations play a role in the gap. “There’s this expectation that to be successful you have to have a four-year degree,” he … Continued

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In our Opinion: Utah isn’t producing enough trained workers

May 11, 2017 (Deseret News) - News about Utah’s economy has been mostly positive in recent years, reflecting a steady rise from the 2008 recession with the expansion of new businesses and declining unemployment. But lurking in the data is a trend that threatens to derail that impressive trajectory. Utah is increasingly facing a shortage of qualified workers in fields requiring both high and low skill levels, with more than two-thirds of all employers saying they are currently having a hard … Continued

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Utah father-and-son graduation reveals arguably the best-kept secret in education

May 08, 2017 (KSL.com) - Just last week, the Utah Foundation reported that more than 70 percent of Utah businesses surveyed have trouble finding qualified workers. Two-year programs like the one the Pyfer men graduated in teach specific skills that a growing number of companies need. “If you come in and do them, you’re given a skill that’s in such demand right now,” said UVU president Matt Holland. “We can’t fill (jobs) fast enough,” The entire Pyfer family is eager … Continued

Hatch does not represent millennial voters

May 06, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) - Many opinions have been thrown around on whether Sen. Orrin Hatch should seek an eighth term in office. As a Utah millennial, I would also like to voice my opinion. After 40 years in office, Hatch has lost sight of his responsibility as a U.S. Senator: represent his constituents. Having held his position longer than millennials have been alive, Hatch is not prioritizing and representing the issues of greatest concern to the millennial generation — … Continued

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Low wages, skills gap key to finding qualified workers, study says

May 03, 2017 (KSL-TV) - A just-released survey by the non-profit Utah Foundation talks about wages that have been stagnating in Utah for a couple of years. That needs to improve in a big way. And employers need to work harder at enticing young people with desirable jobs. “So what it is, you’re maintaining traffic. you’re keeping traffic within the barrels . . .” 25-year-old Michael Frankovich just graduated from a two-year apprenticeship with the Staker Parson Companies. Now he’s … Continued

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Many jobs, not enough workers in Utah

May 03, 2017 (KUTV) - Even where wages are higher, jobs also apparently outnumber job seekers. Rich Thorn, of the Utah Associated General Contractors, said just about every company in his group has a worker shortage — and they’ve resorted to unusual means to get people. “We’re seeing, for the first time in a long time, signing bonuses,” he said. Some companies are “kinda poaching other folks’ employees.” He’s heard of a welder receiving $10,000 to sign in with a … Continued

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Utah industries struggling to find qualified workers

May 03, 2017 (KSL Newsradio) - Utah construction and education leaders are still struggling to train younger generations for gainful employment, so they’re making a few tweaks. Read the Utah Foundation’s report: http://www.utahfoundation.org/reports/help-wanted-workforce-participation-wages-job-desirability-skills-gaps/#.WQobhgPOBYo.twitter

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Low wages, skills gap key to finding qualified workers, study says

May 03, 2017 (Deseret Newsx) - Low pay, job desirability, a skills gap and a tight employment market are contributing to a lack of qualified workers in the state workforce, a new report says. Research from the Utah Foundation — a nonpartisan, independent policy organization — found that while the Beehive State boasts a jobless rate of 3.1 percent with annual job growth at 3.2 percent, Utah’s current labor force participation rate of 69 percent is still well below the 71 … Continued

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Report suggests Utah industries have hard time finding qualified workers

May 03, 2017 (KTVXX) - Utah’s unemployment rate (3.1%) and job growth (3.2%) are among the best in the nation. Many businesses still report difficulty finding as many qualified workers as they need to fill available positions. A new research report from the Utah Foundation links the scarcity of skilled workers could be due to a number of factors, including a tight labor market, low wages, job desirability and skills gaps. Key findings of the report titled Help Wanted: Workforce … Continued

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Study: Low Wages, Skills Gap Contributing To Utah’s Labor Shortage

May 03, 2017 (KUER) - Parson’s problem is one that many Utah industries are facing right now. With a 3.1 percent unemployment rate, there just aren’t as many people looking for work. A new report from the policy research organization Utah Foundation examines some of the reasons behind this labor deficit. Analyst Christopher Collard authored the report. He says there are four big factors contributing to this problem.. “So we traced Utah’s worker shortage back to an overall tight labor … Continued

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Report: Utah Short on Qualified Workers, Wage Increase and Training Programs Could Help

May 03, 2017 (Utah Business) - Utah’s incredibly low unemployment rate has a dark side: companies, especially those in skilled trades, are having a tough time filling open positions. The problem is a complex one, but the bottom line is that multiple organizations need to work together to solve it in order for Utah to keep thriving, according to a new report from the Utah Foundation. Utah’s unemployment rate is extremely low—3.3 percent—and its underutilization rate is also far below the … Continued

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Utah Foundation report: Future not too rosy for Utah coal industry

May 01, 2017 (The Enterprise) - Employment in Utah’s coal mining and coal power industries has been declining for decades, due in part to shrinking demand for coal and improvements in mining technology, according to new research from the Utah Foundation. The report also concluded that policy changes promised by the Trump administration are unlikely to change that. The report is the second in a series of three on Utah’s coal industry and on the communities that have depended on it … Continued

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Utah Foundation report: Future not too rosy for Utah coal industry

April 30, 2017 (Enterprise) - Employment in Utah’s coal mining and coal power industries has been declining for decades, due in part to shrinking demand for coal and improvements in mining technology, according to new research from the Utah Foundation. The report also concluded that policy changes promised by the Trump administration are unlikely to change that. The report is the second in a series of three on Utah’s coal industry and on the communities that have depended on it … Continued

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Jay Evensen: Why are you really leaving, Jason Chaffetz?

April 20, 2017 (Deseret News) - The IRS made its demands on us last Tuesday. Not long after, the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, published its annual “tax freedom day” report. This is the formula that calculates how long you would have to work to pay your entire yearly federal, state and local tax bill if every penny you earn, beginning Jan. 1, went for that purpose. This year’s freedom day is April 23; Utah’s is April 21. … Continued

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Utah earns ‘F’ when it comes to the air we breathe

April 19, 2017 (Fox 13 News) - Failing grades are bad enough when they are judgments on the quality of a student’s math or English proficiency, but Wednesday the state of Utah got several F’s based on the quality of the air the lion’s share of residents breathe. The American Lung Association issued their annual “State of the Air” report card. They judge states and localities by three measures of air pollution: short-term particulates, ozone, and annual particle pollution.

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Report: Trump policies may do little to help boost Utah coal mining jobs

April 20, 2017 (KSL.com) - The coal-friendly policies of the Trump administration may not be enough to reverse the tide of decreasing jobs in the mining industry, despite assurances by the new U.S. president to put coal miners back to work. That conclusion is one of several findings in a report released Wednesday by the Utah Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization. The foundation’s second report looking at coal mining and coal-fired electrical generation in the state focused … Continued

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Utah coal industry employment in long-term decline

May 26, 2017 (UtahPolicy.com) - Employment in Utah’s coal mining and coal power industries has been declining for decades, due in part to shrinking demand for coal and improvements in mining technology. Policy changes promised by the Trump administration are unlikely to change that. Those are among the conclusions of a new research report from Utah Foundation, the second in a series of three on Utah’s coal industry and on the communities that have depended on it for generations.

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Report: Trump may ‘do little’ to revive coal

April 19, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) - Trump administration policies to revive the struggling coal industry may “do little” to restore coal-mining jobs in Utah, the Utah Foundation reported Wednesday. In the second of a series of three reports on Utah’s coal industry, the nonpartisan public-policy research organization determined that political changes will not reverse decades of decline due to a shrinking demand for coal and worker-replacing technology, such as voracious longwall mining machines. Foundation report author Shawn Teigen said about 1,000 … Continued

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Report: Trump policies may do little to help boost Utah coal mining jobs

April 19, 2017 (Deseret News) - The coal-friendly policies of the Trump administration may not be enough to reverse the tide of decreasing jobs in the mining industry, despite assurances by the new U.S. president to put coal miners back to work. That conclusion is one of several findings in a report released Wednesday by the Utah Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization. The foundation’s second report looking at coal mining and coal-fired electrical generation in the state focused … Continued

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Initiative backers consider sales tax to help raise $750M for Utah schools

April 14, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune) - Utah’s public education system is currently the lowest-funded in the nation on a per-student basis, and schools throughout the state are reporting a staffing shortage as teachers abandon the profession. A recent report by the Utah Foundation found that tax policy has diverted roughly $1.2 billion in annual funding from public schools. And Cox remarked that a tax increase of $750 million would move Utah’s school funding ranking from 50th “all the way to” 49th.

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Utah is a millennial hot spot, and here’s why

April 04, 2017 (Deseret News) - Young people in Utah have often been touted for bucking national trends, according Utah Foundation report. The 2015 report found Utah has the second-highest homeownership rate among those 18-to-34 years old. “A lot of it just comes out of the fact that we get married younger and we have children younger, and if you are married or if you do have kids, your likelihood of being a homeowner just increases,” Mallory Bateman, research analyst for … Continued

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Lawsuit filed over Trump coal order

March 29, 2017 (The Spectrum) - Utah is one of six states that gets more than two-thirds of its energy from coal. Nationally, coal provides about 32 percent of the nation’s electricity. In an analysis published earlier this month by the Utah Foundation, a nonpartisan Salt Lake City think-tank, coal production was shown to have declined statewide for years, with 2015 production little more than half of what it was in 2001. In addition, the cost of electricity from natural gas, … Continued

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