Zions Bank Economic and Public Policy Officer Robert Spendlove
The approaching conclusion to 2018 means that all eyes are turning toward what 2019 will bring. With that thought in mind, Zions Bank Economic and Public Policy Officer Robert Spendlove recently highlighted the Utah economy for the upcoming year.
Spendlove believes that 2018 was a successful year both nationally and in the state, seeing strong upheavals in the overall economy. Employment growth was strong and unemployment was low. A positive wage growth was also witnessed and Spendlove stated that the state level was like the brightest star in the sky as Utah continues to lead the nation in population and employment growth.
These positive values means that Utah is positioned well for 2019. However, looking forward, the state is seeing some storm clouds on the horizon. Weaknesses are being viewed internationally in China and parts of Europe and Spendlove remarked that a tough economic situation is being brought up.
Specifically with an intense buy and trade war with China, there is a high level of uncertainty. It is believed that a high point was hit in 2018 and there will be some slowing in 2019. With these particulars in mind, Spendlove stated that it is really important with such a tight labor market to be assisting individuals in finding not just any job in Utah, but the right job.
Another spot of importance is to ensure that individuals are given the right tools to be successful in the new economy. These goals can be reached by encouraging more workforce training and higher education or technical training. These skills will assist people to be successful in the modern workforce.
Carbon and Emery counties in particular see large struggles due to an urban/rural divide in employment. The unemployment rate is much higher, according to Spendlove, in Castle Country than Salt Lake, Juab and Wasatch. Spendlove believes that what the state needs to be enforcing is an encouragement toward local economies for development and urge employers to look beyond the Wasatch Front for opportunities to grow.
Other highlights that Spendlove predicts for 2019 are that Utah will continue to have one of the top-performing labor markets in the country, growth in Utah will be sustained if the state grows its pool of workers and Utah home prices will likely increase in the new year. As of October 2018, Utah had the fourth-fastest home price appreciation in the country at 9.7 percent.