The Bedrock of Civilization: The Economic Impact of the Aggregates Industry in Utah

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In 2018, Utah Foundation was commissioned by Clyde Companies, Kilgore Companies and Staker Parson Materials and Construction to analyze the impact of the aggregates industry in Utah. Aggregates generally consist of crushed stone, sand and gravel. Aggregates are essential in constructing stable subgrades for nearly every type of construction project and are constituents in asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. In 2017, the aggregates industry directly employed over 100,000 individuals nationally, supporting nearly 600,000 total jobs.

The $27 billion in sales in 2017 cascaded to drive a total impact of $121 billion overall. In 2018, Utah’s aggregates industry directly employed 1,620 individuals and supported a total of 3,410 jobs throughout the state. Aggregate sales of $331 million drove a total of $680 million in economic activity in Utah.

At the county level, Washington, Weber and Utah counties see large benefits, with the aggregates industry in each county supporting between 130 to 300 jobs and $20 million to $60 million in sales. Salt Lake County stands out from the rest, with the aggregates industry supporting a total of nearly 1,700 jobs and $322 million in economic activity. Only three of Utah’s 29 counties do not experience a direct impact from the aggregates industry. Twelve counties experience a small impact from the industry. Another 10 counties experience moderate impacts.

It is easy to conclude that Utah’s diversified economy benefits from the presence of a strong aggregates industry, which provides local sources of construction and building materials. In addition, Utah benefits from the industry’s high-wage jobs, which have a ripple effect through the rest of the economy.

Key Findings of this Report

  • Most (90%) aggregates are consumed within 50 miles of mining and production; shipping costs rise sharply with distance.
  • The aggregates industry is present in 26 of Utah’s 29 counties and has a moderate or larger impact in 14.
  • Unlike many other industries where borders are fluid and companies can choose where to expand and contract, the aggregates industry is dependent on the location of the natural resources which are mined. The aggregates industry is strongly tied to local communities. In Utah, there are aggregate quarries in at least 23 of 29 counties.
  • Utah’s aggregate industry directly employs 1,610 individuals and generates $331 million in sales.
  • Utah’s aggregate industry supports another 1,790 jobs, for a total of 3,410 jobs and $680 million in economic activity statewide.
  • Earnings for Utahns within the industry and from all jobs supporting the industry results in $11.8 million in revenue for Utah through state income taxes.
  • Sales within the industry and from all sales supporting the industry may generate up to $31 million in sales taxes for the state and another $10 million for local governments.
  • The value of aggregates industry output has rebounded in recent years but has not yet returned to its pre-recession peak, when adjusted for inflation. This reflects national and regional trends.

 

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