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Study: Utah Economy Ranks First Among States

Pro-business policies from the State Capitol might have helped rank Utah highly in a new survey of state economies. (Wikimedia Commons)
Pro-business policies from the State Capitol might have helped rank Utah highly in a new survey of state economies. (Wikimedia Commons)
June 7, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY - On the strength of business growth and innovation, a new study ranks Utah as having the top state economy in the country.

According to the online survey company WalletHub, Utah is at or near the top of such key economic categories as Gross Domestic Product growth, median income, exports per capita and low unemployment.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says Utah is ranked No. 1 because it covers all its bases for building a strong economy.

"First of all, it excelled in most metrics," says Gonzalez. "In terms of the percentage of firms that are fast-growing, it was number one. In terms of things like the foreclosure rate, the immigration of U.S. knowledge workers for educational attainment, it ranked two and four, respectively."

The survey of Best and Worst State Economies rated states based on three main categories: economic activity, economic health and innovation potential.

Gonzalez says Utah has strong business startup activity, a low poverty rate and fewer people lacking health insurance than some other states.

However, the state's strongest point is its entrepreneurs.

Gonzalez says Utah ranks at or near the top for having the most inventor patents per capita, the most venture-capital funding per capita, and for attracting the highest number of so-called "knowledge workers," in fields like law, medicine, engineering and high-tech.

"So, those things obviously show that Utah is in a very strong position here," she says. "When it comes to the number of independent inventor patents, Utah is number one. So obviously, a lot of not only new products there, but new businesses and companies to help people be wage-earners."

Other states rounding out the survey's top five are Washington, California, Massachusetts and Colorado.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT