Thursday, March 28, 2019

Where Have All the Young Workers Gone?

Young workers in Utah and the U.S. comprise a smaller share of the labor force

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist
"We should be trying to reach the young workers because that’s when you’re most idealistic and have least fear."  John Lennon

One of the most striking labor market changes of the last decade and a half is the declining participation of teenagers in the labor force. Nationally, teenage participation topped out at almost 59 percent in the late 1970s, and today stands at roughly 36 percent. While the trend isn’t as pronounced in Utah as it is nationwide; here, too, young people are less likely to be employed or looking for work than they were as the century began. The reasons for this phenomena are not clear. However, more after-school activities and increased borrowing to pay for post-secondary education (rather than earning while learning) may factor into this decline.
On the other hand, some characteristics of youth workers have changed little. Utah teens still show some of the highest labor force participation rates in the nation. Also, young people continue to show the highest unemployment rates, the lowest wages and the top turnover rates of any age group.

Utah Legislature appropriates $50M for new building at Dixie State

Acknowledging Dixie State University’s need for more academic buildings to accommodate its growing student body, before wrapping up the 2019 session last week, the Utah Legislature appropriated $50 million toward a new Science, Engineering & Technology building and $4.4 million to complete the Human Performance Center.

The funding for the building will enable the university to expand its academic offerings in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, physiology and genetic counseling. Graduates in these programs will go on to fill regional health care and technology workforce needs. Additionally, the facility will allow Dixie State to create pipeline programs with Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah and local tech industry partners. St. George News

Kanab City Planning Commission passes Best Friends building project

The Kanab City Planning Commission voted to approve a building project for Best Friends Animal Society, changing the zoning from Rural Agricultural (RA) to Residential Single-Family (R-1-8 and R-1-15). Best Friends was denied on two other attempts when they tried to get the zoning changed to Residential Multi-Family. It will now go before the Kanab City Council for approval.

Instead of the clustering of the 45 homes around the center of the property, as was proposed in the initial request, this zone allows for two to four homes per acre, according to the Kanab City General Plan. Potentially this 30 acre subdivision could see anywhere from 60 to 120 houses in it, depending on how Best Friends wants to develop it. Battista said it’s possible that not all of the lots would be owned by Best Friends in the end. Southern Utah News

Controversial 147-unit RV park in Veyo gets rubber stamp, but appeal may follow

A proposed RV park in Veyo is causing unease for a group of concerned citizens who claim the venture isn't following county code and will cause long-term issues in their rural community.

The Washington County Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit Tuesday for the rural recreation ground — a project headed by Pine Valley Mountain Recreation LLC and Slade Hughes. Hughes, who owns several businesses in Veyo, plans to turn a parcel of land on north Cottam Ranch Road in Veyo into a recreation ground designed for 128 RV spaces, nine cabin sites and 10 tent sites, to be completed in several phases. The Spectrum

Hurricane City Council opens door for controversial development

After weeks of meetings and one of the longest discussions on a project council members say they’ve ever seen, the Hurricane City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve an amendment to the general plan for the development “Lost Trails at the Cove.”

Although City Council members voted to approve the plan, some modifications were made to the original application. The developer had wanted 340 acres in an area known as the Cove to be rezoned to mixed use – which would allow for residential, commercial, industrial and other uses. Many residents and council members expressed concern over all 340 acres being rezoned to mixed use, with some saying it would allow Thomas to do whatever he wants. In response, the developer modified his request, asking that 160 acres be rezoned for mixed use while the remaining 180 acres would be residential. St. George News

Dixie State board OKs two more master’s degrees

Dixie State University's board of trustees have unanimously approved the addition of new master's and baccalaureate degrees, as well as minor and certificate programs to its academic offerings.

Contingent on receiving approval from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, the university plans to begin offering a master's in athletic training, a master's in technical writing and digital rhetoric, a bachelor's in marketing, a minor in nonprofit management and a certificate in biotechnology starting during in the fall. Deseret News

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

First microbrewery in St. George to start selling craft beer, with plans for much more

Silver Reef Brewing Co., St. George’s first ever microbrewery, is launching three craft beers Friday with plans to sell its products across Southern Utah, open a pub restaurant and beer garden, and become the beer of St. George. The brewery, named for the mining ghost town just north of St. George, is the first brewery to come to St. George and is located at 4391 S. Enterprise Drive. Plans are also in motion to begin canning the beers, which will be available at the brewery and in stores by March or April of this year. St. George News

Climbing gym approved for construction in St. George near Pine View High

A new gym slated to be built in St. George promises to combine the art of yoga with the athletics of rock climbing. The gym is called Contact Climbing and will be built on the vacant lot at 2865 E. 850 N. Street, near the roundabout just west of Costco and Sportsman’s Warehouse. The lot is also just a couple blocks north of Pine View High School.

To accommodate the verticality of its climbing walls, the building will be nearly 60 feet tall. A conditional use permit for the building’s height was approved during a recent St. George City Council meeting. The 18,500-square-foot indoor, climate-controlled gym will include a suite of rock-climbing walls and will also offer yoga and fitness classes and a full set of cardio and fitness equipment. The building will also accommodate parties, corporate events, competitions and after-school programs. St George News

City Council approves Heritage Place development in Washington Fields

A zone change allowing a development that has drawn opposition from surrounding residents in Washington Fields due to high-density and traffic concerns was approved by the City Council.

Heritage Place, which calls for multiple housing units and a patch of commercial space to be built on “the Nisson field,” was approved by the council in a 4-1 vote. It changes the area from agricultural zoning to a planned unit development.

It will feature 178 residential units that include single-family homes, garden homes and townhomes. A 3.5-acre patch of commercial space is proposed for the corner of 2000 South and Washington Fields Road, according to the project’s site plan. St George News