Op-ed: Utah’s economy could benefit from focusing on climate issues

Written by: Peter Reichard

Record heat and the drought this summer are putting the issue of climate change on Utahns’ minds. While a run of unfavorable weather measured in weeks or months does not in itself equate to climate change, it does invite us to pay more attention to the issue. The causes and effects of climate change, as well as the proper responses, remain matters for some degree of debate. And those debates, by the way, are worth … Continued

Significant Statistics | When stimulus checks came, Utahns were more likely to sock money away

Written by: Erin Hernandez

The U.S. economy took a significant hit due to the pandemic and economic shutdown in 2020. Businesses let go of employees and reduced hours; the unemployment rate peaked in April 2020, reaching an astounding 14.4% in the U.S. and 9.7% in Utah. To stimulate the economy and aid households, the federal government introduced a variety of financial resources, including stimulus checks. Beginning in early 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed Americans nine times over a … Continued

Significant Statistics | Utah Leads the U.S. in Personal Income Growth

Written by: Erin Hernandez

In a year when one might expect Americans’ personal income to decrease, 2020 saw the greatest increase in personal income growth in 20 years. The pandemic and related economic shutdown inspired a far-reaching increase in governmental assistance. Policymakers focused on increasing funds for unemployment benefits and government transfers, more widely known as stimulus checks, in hopes of offsetting the impacts from a growing unemployment rate. This resulted in a nationwide personal income increase of 4.9%. … Continued

Significant Statistics | 2020 a standout year for home sale price escalation

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah Foundation’s 2020 Utah Priorities Project found that housing affordability is a top issue to Utah voters. This is due in part to increasing housing prices. Based on data collected by Redfin (a real estate brokerage that publishes national housing data), Utah’s housing prices skyrocketed in 2020. (See Figure 1.) A study by bankrate.com found that over the course of 2020, Utah’s home home values increased by 15.4 percent, which was the third-highest increase among … Continued

Significant Statistics | Rents in Salt Lake area expensive from a national perspective, but not among Mountain State peers

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah Foundation’s 2020 Utah Priorities Project found that housing affordability is a top issue to Utah voters. Previous Utah Foundation research indicated that housing affordability was of much greater concern among renters than homeowners.  While the increasing cost of owning a home is potentially offset by record low interest rates, there is no such offset for renters. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development uses a national survey to calculate the Fair Market Rent, … Continued

Op ed: Development tax breaks need oversight

Written by: Peter Reichard

It looked like a stroke of genius. Back in the 1950s, California officials, looking to fund economic development projects under tight budget constraints, created a mechanism known as tax increment financing, or TIF. The idea was to pledge new (or incremental) tax revenue generated from a project to make the project itself possible. It would be a clean win for the public, because the only money to be spent would be money that would not … Continued

Op-ed: Getting clarity on income inequality in Utah

Written by: Peter Reichard

Income inequality is on the American mind, with an economic crisis upon us, tensions on the streets, and a growing sense that an increasingly remote elite is controlling an increasingly disproportionate share of the nation’s wealth. Concerns are emanating from right, left and center. One prominent observer is now even arguing that an age of “neo-feudalism” is nigh. Utah Foundation recently explored income inequality in a series of briefs in our “Significant Statistics” series. Our … Continued

Significant Statistics | How are the economic crisis and long-term trends affecting government jobs in Utah?

Written by: Staff

THERE HAS BEEN A sharp decline in government jobs since the pandemic began affecting Utah’s economy in March. From March to May, nearly 20,000 government jobs disappeared – a 7% decline. This is roughly proportional to the decrease in jobs overall – 6%. This contrasts with the previous recession, when jobs overall decreased 6% from 2008 to 2010 while government jobs actually increased by 3% over the same time period.[1] * Image from Utah Foundation, … Continued

Significant Statistics | Which area of the Wasatch Front has the highest income inequality?

Written by: Staff

Earlier this month, Utah Foundation held a Breakfast Briefing looking at income inequality. Utah Foundation has also dedicated multiple Significant Statistics posts to looking at how income inequality varies across the state. We found that urban counties in Utah have the same levels of inequality when compared to more-rural counties (though income baselines varied significantly). However, the broad analysis obscures some of the detail, showing wide variation in inequality among counties and regions. Similarly, looking … Continued