By: Randy Shumway
Editor’s note: The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute from time to time publishes blogs from thought leaders in our community. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Policy Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.
Like all states in the union, my home state of Utah has benefited tremendously from the effects of globalization and cooperation. Our state and local governments have built a global economic engagement model that expands markets and collaboration, and minimizes barriers. Salt Lake County alone exports over $10 billion in products every year, and 22% of Utah jobs are supported by exports.
Utah has been recognized as the best state for job growth (U.S. News 2017), and the best state for business for three years running (Forbes 2014–2016). The Pew Center identified Utah as the “best managed state in the nation,” and Ogden, Provo, and Salt Lake County are leading the nation in job growth and entrepreneurial support. Utah has built not only one of the fastest growing but also one of the most diversified economies in the country. More importantly, during a time in which the United States is experiencing an increasing divide between its richest and poorest populations, the Salt Lake valley boasts the country’s highest rate of absolute upward mobility (Bloomberg).
So how has Utah done it? Certainly not by closing trade and building walls—quite the opposite actually. State and local governments have promoted growth in three key ways: (1) fostering public-private partnerships, (2