May 4, 2017 – Utah’s defense industry directly and indirectly supported more than 109,000 jobs and $9.2 billion in economic activity in the state during 2015, according to new research released by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. That year, federal defense spending was responsible for 5.8 percent of Utah’s jobs, 7.1 percent of its earnings and 6.2 percent of its GDP.
The Utah Defense Alliance and the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs commissioned the Gardner Policy Institute to assess the economic impacts of Utah’s defense industry. The Gardner Policy Institute analyzed the impacts of current operations of Hill Air Force Base, Dugway Proving Ground, Tooele Army Depot, the Utah National Guard, reserves, recruiting, ROTC and expenditures on behalf of veterans. It also examined Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs grants and contract expenditures that were not associated with one of the aforementioned installations.
“Utah’s defense industry continues to be an important contributor to the state economy with an impact in every county of the state,” said Juliette Tennert, director of economic and public policy research at the Gardner Policy Institute. “With the Trump administration’s recent proposals to increase defense spending, this could mean additional money and jobs for Utahns.”
In addition, the Gardner Policy Institute modeled the long-run economic and demographic impacts on the state and local economies in the event of the closure of Hill Air Force Base, for which there are currently no known plans. The base accounts for 43 percent to 50 percent of the total defense industry economic impact in the state, supporting more than 47,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in GDP. A hypothetical closure of Hill Air Force Base by 2022 would cost the state an estimated 35,184 jobs, $2.9 billion in earnings and $3.8 billion in GDP.
Veterans in Utah also generated significant economic impact, supporting more than 24,000 jobs and $1.9 billion in GDP for Utah in 2015. Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense spending for Utah veterans was $1.8 billion in 2015.
The full report is available here. The reference year of 2015 is the most recent year for all of the available data.