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Front Page » July 31, 2007 » Local News » Utah leads nation in job creation, while population conti...
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Utah leads nation in job creation, while population continues to boom statewide

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Utah continues to lead the United States in job creation, reporting a 4.5 employment growth rate for the year ending in May.

The state has been creating employment opportunities at a high rate exceeding the national average of 1.4 percent since January, pointed out the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

In addition, Utah's population is booming statewide, with some cities showing triple-digit percentage jumps, according to U.S. Census estimates.

Despite a subpar winter season, the department of workforce services explained that a record number of skiers and snowboarders were attracted to Utah slopes last winter.

The state's 13 active resorts recorded 4,982,094 skier days in the winter of 2006-07, the fourth consecutive year in which a new high mark was set. The total was only 19,906 more than the prior winter's record number.

But the figure is additional evidence that post-Olympic increases in national visibility enabled resorts to overcome a quirky weather pattern and snowfall totals far below normal, noted the department of workforce services.

The latest statistics show Utah's ski industry flourished during the 2005-2006 season - in part due to consumers who opened wallets to purchase $83 million in snowboarding equipment, apparel and accessories.

SnowSports Industries of America reported that Utah was the sixth highest sales state in the country, behind Colorado and population centers California, New York, Texas and New Jersey.

Utah is witnessing an upswing in 2007 in the number of companies that want to sell shares to the public for the first time, pointed out the department of workforce services.

To date, three Utah companies - Energy Solutions, ZARS Inc. and Amedica Corp.- have filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to undertake initial public offerings of stocks. The three proposed offerings in the first six months of the year might signal that the long dry spell in IPOs that followed the 2000-2001 dot-com market collapse finally may be starting to wane in Utah, as it did nationwide almost five years ago, noted the department of workforce services.

Utah had 175,121 people in business for themselves in 2005. That number is growing at one of the nation's fastest rates, according to a recent census report.

Utah saw an increase of 7.2 percent in the number of self-employed business people in one year, finishing second only to Georgia's 7.6 percent increase, according to Non-employer Statistics: 2005.

According to workforce services, state officials have offered a Houston-based pipe company $2.8 million in tax rebates if it will build a manufacturing plant in Cedar City that would create 98 new full-time jobs.

The governor's office of economic development board approved the incentive in an effort to lure North American Pipe Corp. to open a plant that would manufacture and supply PVC pipe to the California market.

Mortgage delinquencies nationally are on the rise, but fewer people in Utah are falling behind on house payments, a new report shows. In Utah, only 3.05 percent of outstanding loans were at least 30 days past due in first quarter 2007, down from 3.29 percent last year, indicated the Mortgage Bankers Association National Delinquency Survey.

The numbers of million-dollar homes are swelling at locations across the state. Nearly one of every 100 owner-occupied homes in Utah is now valued at $1 million or more, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. The number climbed to an estimated 3,912 in 2005 for 0.7 percent of all owner-occupied homes in the state. The number is nearly double the 2,054 million-dollar homes in Utah estimated by the bureau between 2000 and 2003.

At the local level, Magnum Uranium of Vancouver has started drilling the company's San Rafael project in Emery County in search for additional reserves on the property.

The company's project is located on the east flank of the San Rafael Swell, about 15 miles west of Green River.

The first $80 million in federal funds for the FrontRunner commuter rail project has been freed up by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal agency is expected to provide a total of $488.8 million for the project. The total expense is estimated at $611 million.

The U.S. House approved nearly $24 million and a tougher deadline for the cleanup of radioactive waste near the Colorado River outside Moab on the same day the U.S. Energy Department awarded two contracts for work at the site, concluded workforce services.

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