WASHINGTON, April 29 When it comes to economic
growth and business strength, there may be no better U.S. state
than Utah, according to a report set to be released by the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce on Monday.
The business association found that Utah, population 2.8
million, ranked third among all states in overall economic
performance - a measure of how states' economies have fared over
time in terms of jobs, gross domestic product, productivity and
Moreover, Utah was the only state to make the top 10 lists
for all five of the "policy" areas the Chamber assessed -
exports, innovation and entrepreneurship, business climate,
talent pipeline and infrastructure.
"Utah is the strongest job growth performer behind North
Dakota ... The state is becoming known as a professional
services and finance center," said the Chamber. "Manufacturing
is a competitive advantage for the state. Over the past decade,
Utah's manufacturing sector saw a slight increase in employment
during a time when national manufacturing employment contracted
by 22.51 percent."
Utah's unemployment rate is one of the lowest among the
states at 4.9 percent in March 2013, according to the U.S. Labor
Each year the Chamber ranks states according to various
economic and business measures for its "Enterprising States"
report. This year, fortune seemed directly tied to technology
and engineering across the five areas the Chamber evaluates.
For exports, Utah came in third after Louisiana and Texas,
primarily because it is a major supplier to the world of
electronic memory circuits, aircraft engines and parts, vehicle
airbags and X-ray equipment, according to the Chamber.
Utah had top rankings in entrepreneurship mostly because it
is establishing high-tech businesses at a fast rate.
The Chamber also considered Utah strong in the "talent
pipeline" area, which looks at both education and training as
well as job assistance programs after the state legislature
approved funds to foster more engineering graduates and software
Technology was even a factor for Utah's top ranking in
infrastructure, with the Chamber emphasizing Utah's high-speed
data connections alongside the high quality of the state's
For the business climate measure, which assesses the
influence of government-related costs on local businesses, the
Chamber put Utah sixth because of its high small-business
lending activity, low taxes and laws.
Technology also gave Maryland and Virginia a boost in the
The Chamber ranked Maryland first in entrepreneurship,
largely because of its research and development and its science
and technology employment growth, and Virginia third partly for
having the highest share of businesses in high-tech industries.
Still, the extraction and the commodities boom continues to
prove crucial for jobs, business and incomes in most states.
North Dakota's "stratospheric growth" from the oil and
natural gas industry put it first on the list of economic
performance, followed by Texas, which has added 41,000 jobs in
natural resources extraction in the last two years, according to
Three other energy heavyweights completed the top 10
economic performance list, with Wyoming fourth, Oklahoma seventh
and Louisiana eighth.
The Chamber of Commerce is not the only one to notice that
certain states are bounding ahead as the recovery from the
2007-09 recession unfolds. Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's
Ratings Service said it expected to find the strongest growth
this year in the Rocky Mountain region, including Utah and
Wyoming, and in the West South Central area encompassing
Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.