Editor’s Note: The David Eccles School of Business & the Business Scholar Club collaborated to start the Eccles Leadership Lecture Series, which gives students the opportunity to listen and learn from prestigious professionals as they talk about their career and education.
On Friday, Nov. 4 Natalie Gochnour, associate dean of the David Eccles School of Business, discussed Utah’s economic forecast. Gochnour is also the Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and Chief Economist of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce. She discussed Utah’s economy, the federal government, the election and Utah’s economic outlook.
There are three takeaways from her presentation.
- The federal government isn’t working on these topics:
- Lack of Zika funding
- No immigration plan
- Crumbling bridges and roads go unrepaired
- Entitlements go unreformed
- Firearm purchases by people on terrorist watch lists
Although there are only five items in the list, she suggested there are many more things that could be added that contribute to the dysfunction of the federal government.
- The results of the election will affect the economy drastically.
Gochnour started off by stating the current election has been a confounding one. She suggested the election is defined by this term, “kakistocracy” — a government run by the least-qualified and most-unprincipled citizen. She discussed views of the media on the election by quoting major columnists. She referenced Arthur Brooks, who stated, “Politicians don’t start parades. They find them, run up front, and march in them.” She interpreted this statement by saying that parades aren’t made by politicians. Politicians are a reflection of us and our society. With this, she encouraged students to influence the state.
“In your sphere of influence, figure out what you can do to redirect the parade,” she said. From this, she suggested if Donald Trump wins, the markets will be highly volatile. If Hillary Clinton wins, the economy will stay the same. Whoever wins, the state of the country will need a lot of rebuilding.
- Utah’s economic outlook is a positive one.
Utah is the fifth-fastest growing economy in the United States. It has a 3.7 percent unemployment rate. Every day, 110 jobs are created. In 2016 alone, 49,500 jobs are created, so this means hourly workers and highly skilled workers are in high demand for these jobs. Despite the lack of infrastructure in other places, Utah has been focused on investing heavily on infrastructure.
- SLC International Airport
- The SLC International Airport is the biggest investment in Utah’s history, costing $3 billion dollars, and $400 million of the $3 billion are from savings and the rest of the costs are covered by FAA grants, Delta Gates fees, rental car fees and more. This means that no taxes were used in this major investment.
- Wall Street of the West
- Utah is coined “Wall Street of the West” because in the past seven years, many major companies are operating here such as Goldman Sachs and Fidelity. Goldman Sachs employs more than 2,200 people, and Utah is the second-largest office in the United States and fourth-largest in the world. Currently, a major building on 111 S. Main houses these major companies.
- Utah Silicon Slopes Corridor
- Utah Silicon Slopes Corridor is between Midvale and Pleasant Grove. It is about 25 miles and has 17 cities. Approximately 57,755 new jobs were created since 2010 with a total of 235,497 jobs overall. This corridor accounts for the 40 percent increase in jobs statewide between 2010 and 2014.
- Eccles Theater
- This place is a vibrant center for culture in Utah. It has 2,500 seats and many musical and Broadway performances are already scheduled.
- Downtown Urban Living
- 5,200 apartments have been built throughout the past 100 years. In the next 100 years, Utah will continue to expand and grow its downtown urban living situation.
Overall, Gochnour’s presentation showcased the negatives and positives of the economic outlook. Despite the negatives, in order for the U.S. and Utah’s economy to keep thriving, unity is the key.