Blog Post

Winds of Change: Utah’s growing cost-of-doing business problem

By: Natalie Gochnour

Originally published in Utah Business

The Utah economy celebrated its eighth anniversary of economic growth in June, the second-longest in state history. Currently, the state economy is creating about 45,000 jobs a year. Unemployment remains low at 3.2 percent and inflation-adjusted wages continue to rise. The nice economic winds have been blowing and business is strong.

I sense a change in weather in the next 12 to 24 months led by a tight labor market, rising interest rates, the end of the “Trump rally” and something no one is talking about—the rising costs of doing business in the Beehive State.

Moody’s Analytics tracks the cost of doing business at the state level each year. I’ve followed their index for over two decades and have noticed movement in recent years. Utah is becoming more expensive. The rising cost of doing business will challenge business expansion and recruitment efforts in coming years.

Prior to the Great Recession, Moody’s estimated Utah’s cost of doing business in 2006 to rank 38thamong states and the District of Columbia. Thirteen states had lower costs; 37 states had higher costs, led by Hawaii and California. Among western states, Idaho, New Mexico and Wyoming had lower costs than Utah.

Today, Utah’s cost of doing business ranks 30th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a change of eight spots in nine years. Now, among western states, Washington, Nevada and Oregon have lower costs of doing business than Uta