Blog Post

Insight: The Geography of Manufacturing in Utah

By: Max Backlund

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

Historically, the manufacturing industry has been an important employment sector for Utah. Recently, several very large manufacturers have announced their expansion plans in Utah, including a $380 million project from Northrup Grumman that will hire more than 3,000 people, and two projects from Malouf in Cache County that will include $575 million in capital investments and hire more than 5,400 people.[i] These projects show the great potential for expansion in Box Elder, Cache, Davis and Weber counties, which are poised to lead the way for the next wave of manufacturing growth in Utah.

Compared to other major employment sectors in Utah, manufacturing is just as urbanized, but is more evenly distributed across the urbanized counties (see Table 1). Traditionally, the northern counties have been the growth areas for manufacturing employment.

Table 1: Top 10 Utah Counties for Manufacturing Employment, 2020

Source: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute analysis of Utah Department of Workforce Services data

The top 10 counties account for 97% of all manufacturing employment in the state. The top five counties account for 86% of all manufacturing employment. In 2020 Salt Lake County accounted for 47% of total employment, but only 41% of all manufacturing emp