Three key words for Utah’s economy at Governor’s Economic Summit

Natalie Gochnour had three key takeaway words for attendees at the Utah Economic Summit — positive, healthy and mindful.

Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the David Eccles School of Business, has long been a trusted source on economic issues for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, so much so that he tasked her with delivering this year’s Utah Economic Report at the 11th annual summit.

“Utah’s economy is economy is positive, it’s healthy, and we need to be mindful of it,” Gochnour told the audience of Utah’s top business leaders.

Utah is in its eighth consecutive year of economic expansion, Gochnour said, the second-longest in state and national history. The state is also experiencing almost-full employment, with an unemployment rate of only about 3 percent. Trade with Mexico — our largest trading partner — remains strong.

That healthy and positive growth does mean Utah has experienced a few growing pains. Gochnour highlighted the current housing shortage in the state. And issues such as public lands — and the disagreement over the Bears Ears National Monument — continue to divide the state. Utah essentially has two economies, Gochnour said. A robust, growing urban economy, and a rural economy that is experiencing contraction.

These concerns are what make mindfulness so important, Gochnour said. She urged business leaders to be mindful of Utah’s economic issues as they move forward expanding Utah’s economic growth.

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