Unemployment numbers in SLC better now than in pre-recession years

Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 02, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City is one of a few major cities across the country that has unemployment figures that are better now than they were before the recession in 2008.

According to data from the Brookings Institution, only 14 out of 100 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the nation have more jobs available now than before the recession.

Fox Business Anchor Lauren Simonetti said there are reasons behind the success of cities like Salt Lake.

“What these 14 cities have in common is this: government agencies, high-tech hubs, oil and gas industries or very, very friendly tax codes,” she said.

Juliette Tennert, Chief economist in the Utah governor’s office of planning and budget, said they are happy, but not surprised, by the numbers. She said the high-tech industry in Utah is thriving, and she cited companies like Adobe and eBay moving in to the state as examples.

“We're seeing a lot of business relocation to Utah, so out-of-state businesses are moving to Utah and hiring,” she said.

It’s not just out-of-state businesses that account for the growth; local-based businesses are also expanding. Tennert said Utah’s tax structure and incentives for businesses contribute to that growth.

“We have really business friendly regulations, so smart regulation, lower taxes, a lower cost of living,” she said. “We have a really well-educated workforce, so as businesses expand in Utah or relocate to Utah there's a really good workforce to draw from.”

The list of 14 cities was compiled by the Brookings Institution, which is a non-profit public policy organization in Washington D.C. According to researchers, nearly half of the 14 cities are in Texas. Researchers said that is due to the state’s robust employment in the oil and natural gas industries.