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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Salt Lake County's AmeriCorps Most Vulnerable Program Gives Back on 9/11


September 17, 2020

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To remember and mark the 19th anniversary of 9/11 in 2020, Salt Lake County’s AmeriCorps Most Vulnerable Populations (MVP) Program gave back to the refugee community in Salt Lake City.

The AmeriCorps MVP Program aims at providing support to Salt Lake City’s homeless and refugee populations by assisting them in gaining employment and stable housing.

Representatives from partners at the Road Home, Utah Community Action, International Rescue Committee, Catholic Community Services, First Step House, and Housing Connect all came out to help!

Salt Lake County partnered with the International Rescue Committee's New Roots Program at their Wheadon Farm in Draper assisting with beautification projects. County volunteers helped refugee farmers to harvest tomatoes and Serrano peppers. Residents can even purchase some of the produce harvested at several farmers' markets throughout the County and support these refugee Utahns!

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Learn more about the New Roots Program and the International Rescue Committee at https://newrootsslc.com.


Where Does Consumer Confidence Stand in Salt Lake County During Summer 2020?


September 03, 2020

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A second survey of 800 Salt Lake County residents during the Summer of 2020 by Y2 Analytics gives local elected officials and decision makers greater understanding of local consumer confidence and trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are four top economic takeaways.

1. Negative Outlook Despite Upward Economic Trends

Residents were substantially more concerned about about the present and future of the coronavirus crisis than they were in May. Unfortunately, only 16% thought the worst of it is behind us (though cases peaked in July, they have been on the decline and plateaued in August).

Increasing Support for face masks.JPG2. Residents Support Mask Up

The summer saw significant increase in consumers' widespread support across Salt Lake County for safety measures that involve requiring face coverings. Mayor Jenny Wilson first required face coverings at the end of June, and in August it was extended through the end of the year. The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute has said that the mask requirement has been one of the most important economic tools deployed by Salt Lake County.

3. Let Them Eat Cake (or Pizza)

Residents are more comfortable now eating out at restaurants than they were earlier in the pandemic. Of course, more restaurants and businesses also opened for service this summer, which were previously closed by public health orders or later by personal choice. This is good news for the food service industry, as it's been one of the hardest hit financially during COVID-19, losing millions of dollars.

The survey suggests there has also been an increase in residents visiting salons and barbershops — a good sign for those employed in personal services.

4. If You're More Comfortable Doing Leisure Activities, You're Probably High Income

Residents earning more than $100,000 or more continue the trend of being the most comfortable in going to a store, gym, sporting event, or theater. Meanwhile, Salt Lake County residents who have lower incomes (less than $50,000) are much less comfortable engaging in these activities, and are also less motivated by concerns about a recession.

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Other Survey Data Highlights:

  • Concern of public health impacts versus economic impacts
  • Favorability decline of local business, county, and city leaders, as well as Gov. Herbert and President Trump
  • COVID's negative impacts on mental health and social life

Interested in more Summer 2020 Consumer Confidence Survey data? View the full 40-page report here.


Gardner Institute: What's on the horizon for Salt Lake County's Economy?


September 02, 2020

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Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, what is Salt Lake County's economic outlook?

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute is always a key source to fascinating data and insight into the local economy.

Natalie Gochnour shared critical information for Salt Lake County leaders and decision makers as they assess impact of the pandemic and carry out recovery policy and initiatives in September 2020. 

Utah currently holds the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S., at 4.5%.Year-over-year percent job change comes in at -1.8% — only surpassed by Idaho. 

Salt Lake County Perspective

Salt Lake County tracks the state. It stacks up well to other urban counties, according to the Institute. New weekly unemployment claims in Salt Lake County have consistently decreased since Week 14 of 2020, topping out around 15,000. July 2020's unemployment rate in Salt Lake County was 5.7%.

The economic diversity in the county also provides significant resiliency; Utah has the highest score of economic diversity in the U.S., according to the Hachman Index Score. Salt Lake County has the most economic diversity of any county in the state with 94.1. The second most diverse is Weber County.

Success in public health is directly tied to the recovery of the economy. As strides are made in limiting the spread of COVID-19, consumers face safer environments to engage in the economy.One point of emphasis from the Institute is that "face coverings have been one of the most important economic tools." Since the face covering requirement made by Salt Lake County in late June (which now extends through the rest of 2020), the region has seen a decrease in the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases.

Looking to the Future

Economists right now are looking at the COVID-19 fiscal cliff following the CARES Act, stimulus checks issued in April and the extra pandemic unemployment expiring at the end of July. Enter: The cliff. Gochnour said it was imperative another stimulus be passed.

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As it stands, multiple stimulus packages have been debated by Congress, in addition to President Donald Trump's executive orders. Moody's Macro Model suggests $1.5 trillion is needed.

Gardner Institute: Changes to Watch For

There are four structural changes to watch for in Salt Lake County's economy as we navigate long-term recovery.

  1. New Banking Paradigm
  2. De-globalization
  3. Tech-enabled services
  4. Reckoning of commercial real estate

It's anticipated that shorter supply chains will become more common, and remote work and technology-enabled services have been significantly accelerated due to COVID-19. The behavioral changes of remote work and sales increases the risk of current and future commercial real estate.

"Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next," author Arundhati Roy has said.

Change in Taxable Sales in Salt Lake CountyOf course, there have been winners and losers in the pandemic. Taxable sales in Salt Lake County have shown that. While industries like food service, accomodations, entertainment and recreation have seen massive declines, online shopping, sporting goods, and food stores have seen incredible increases. It will be interesting to track those changes through the rest of 2020.

Is the economy back to normal? No. But in Salt Lake county, it's on its way and trends upward.Salt Lake County Economic Horizon 9-1-20 (002)_Page_29.jpg

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute's entire Salt Lake County report and presentation given in September 2020 is available for viewing here.

For more COVID-19 economic information and resources, visit slco.org/covid-19/.