Business leaders in Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake and Utah County were treated to a “wave” of economic information courtesy of Natalie Gochnour, Ph. D., Associate Dean of David Eccles School of Business, at Bank of Utah’s Economic Forecast events in February. Gochnour, who is also director of University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, named her presentation “Currents” as a clever way to share economic trends specific to the communities in which she spoke.

Bank of Utah sponsors the Economic Forecast Events annually to give bank customers and the community economic insights to help them shape their business goals and strategies for the coming year. Key learnings from Gochnour’ s presentations include:

WAVES (short term economic news) – Good news! Utah has the fourth fastest growing economy in the nation, and current Utah Governor Gary Herbert has overseen the longest economic expansion for the state during his terms in office.

  1. There has been solid growth in key industries, with technology seeing the highest growth, and natural resources industries seeing the smallest.
  2. Other bright spots are Utah County’s growth. Utah would be second tier (in business growth) without Utah County’s growth. The growth can be attributed to the expanding tech industry in the county. Gochnour sees a future shift in population, employment and political power to Utah County.
  3. While Salt Lake County is thriving, it is running out of land for housing and industry, and seeing supply restraints created by high demand, resulting in making housing unaffordable.
  4. Northern Utah has everything going for it regarding economic opportunities: available land, a great outdoor industry. Gochnour suggested that Northern Utah needs to work on its branding to tell that story, if it hopes to draw more business.

TIDES (long term factors effecting change in the economy) –

  1. Technology is rapidly changing! In the past, the change curve was 50 years, now it is four to five years. We’re at a point where we almost can’t keep up with the changes
  2. Salt Lake County’s growth is linear, while Utah County is the hot spot for growth in the state.
  3. Utah’s population is aging. We are shifting from one in 10 to one in five people who are over 65 years of age.
  4. Utah no longer has the highest fertility rate in the country.
  5. We will see a shift in household size.

RIPTIDES (economic hazards) –

  1. Utahns are not living within their means
  2. Lawmakers are not coming together to make decisions for the good of the people due to partisan politics
  3. Leaders’ decisions are being made based on emotion instead of data

TIDE POOLS (exciting opportunities) –

  1. We are experiencing a fourth industrial revolution, with emerging new ways to live. Technology is starting to define what is human.
  2. Some economic tipping points that will impact Utah’s future are big construction projects such as the re-build of the Salt Lake City International Airport, making Salt Lake a major Delta Airlines hub.
  3. The Salt Lake Inland Port will serve as a major U.S transportation and warehouse hub, which will be key as the nation continues to shift from retail to online sales fulfillment. It will connect Utah to the world-wide supply chain.
  4. The 2030 Winter Olympics is another huge opportunity to show the world our beautiful state.

You can view the presentations from each of the event at the links below:

Cache County Focus - Natalie Gochnour

Weber County Focus - Natalie Gochnour
Real Estate Market Review - Brandon Fugal

Salt Lake County Focus - Natalie Gochnour

Utah County Focus - Natalie Gochnour
Real Estate Market Review - Brandon Fugal