Monday, December 17, 2018

New GDP figures will add to the local economic-analysis tool box

New GDP figures will add to the local economic-analysis tool box

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product.”  Robert Kennedy
As a regional economist, I’m routinely asked for gross domestic product (GDP) figures for Utah’s counties. After all, nationally, GDP is routinely tracked as an economic indicator. “Sorry,” I say, “the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) doesn’t produce GDP statistics for counties (unless they are a metropolitan statistical area). But data-lovers, “the times, they are a-changin’.”
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has just released proto-type county GDP statistics for 2012 to 2015. You can explore the data in the visualization that follows.

Yes, the proto-type information is dated. However, data-users can take a first-look at the series and assist BEA by providing feedback and comments on the prototype data via e-mail at Official statistics are scheduled for release in December 2019.
When the official data is released, this new data will add to our ability to analyze Utah’s local economies.
What do the proto-type figures reveal? Here are a few highlights:
In 2015, eight Utah counties experienced a decline in GDP following a trend similar to 2013 and 2014.
  • Less-populated counties were most likely to experience a bout of declining GDP.
  • Daggett County, one of Utah’s smallest in both geographic size and population, showed the highest GDP growth rate in 2015 with Washington County showing the highest rate of expansion among more-populated counties.
  • It wasn’t uncommon for Utah counties to experience at least one year of GDP contraction between 2013 and 2015.
  • Not surprisingly, the vast majority of GDP is generated along the Wasatch Front.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Updated Data Visualizations

The Utah Department of Workforce Services has recently updated the following data visualizations on our website. Click on the titles to scope out the new data:

Washington City annexes Long Valley area; master development planned

Washington City recently grew by over 1,500 acres as the City Council unanimously voted to annex the area known as Long Valley. The council had previously approved an annexation proposal for Long Valley from Brennan Holdings LLC in April. Brennan Holdings is the second-largest property owner in the annexation zone with 605 acres. The largest property owner within the area is the Bureau of Land Management, which holds 753 acres. Brennan’s property is planned to be a master development called The Trails at Long Valley. The development is slated to host 200 building lots and sport a $7.5 million clubhouse. St George News

Red Hills clubhouse construction begins

Construction is slated to begin Monday on a new clubhouse building at Dixie Red Hills Golf Course in St. George. The new building will include a restaurant and lounge area and will replace one that is more than 50 years old. The Spectrum

Cedar City’s Animal Adoption Center taking shape

Cedar City’s new animal adoption shelter has started taking shape, as construction crews have been digging and preparing the ground for the building’s foundation. On Sept. 19, nearly six months after the initial ceremonial groundbreaking took place, the Cedar City Council formally approved the project, awarding the $1.459 million bid to Grass Creek Construction of Washington County.

The project’s scheduled timetable is just over nine months, meaning the new facility should be completed by June 2019. At 5,500 square feet, the new building will have more than three times the floor space of the city’s existing shelter, located a short distance down the street on Kitty Hawk Drive. St. George News

Southern Utah University ranks 4th in nation for applications, enrollment growth

USA Today has ranked Southern Utah University fourth in the nation for applications and enrollment growth, one of only three Utah schools to place in the national ranking.

Over the last five years, the university has seen the number of applications submitted increase by more than 150 percent, while enrollment has risen by nearly 35 percent, according to a press release issued by SUU.

By the end of the Fall 2017 semester, SUU crossed the 10,000 threshold, topping out at 10,245 students, marking three years of enrollment growth for the institution. The number of degrees awarded in 2016-2017 soared to an all-time high of 2,175, and over a ten-year period, the number of graduates increased by 61 percent, higher than any other four-year public institution in Utah. St.George News

St. George advances plans for 3,350-acre planned community along Arizona border

Ambitious plans to build what amounts to entire new city along Utah's southern border moved closer to reality Thursday, with the St. George city council giving its unanimous approval to more than 1,300 acres worth of zone changes.

Desert Color, designed to eventually build out to 3,350 acres, is planned as one of the largest master-planned developments in Utah history. It would transform the desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border and eventually house tens of thousands of new southern Utah residents. Single-family homes, apartments, shopping, resort-style rentals, schools, parks and all the other trappings of a fully-functioning, self-sustaining community are planned to move in together.

Some 5,900 different units are included in the plans for the first phase of the project, a triangular 1,300-acre slice of desert wedged between Interstate 15 to the west, the Southern Parkway to the north and east, and the state line to the south. The Spectrum

Purgatory Correctional Facility completes expansion

With construction completed, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to usher in a single level, 14,000 square foot, low security detention facility in Hurricane, now known as the Community Corrections Center, which replaces the dilapidated modular structures that are 16 years out of date. The $2 million building has two large, open dorms, which hold 60 bunks each, in addition to laundry, dining, bathroom and shower facilities. The new facility has a capacity of up to 128 inmates and is designed for expansion if needed. St George News

Santa Clara development along Tuacahn Wash granted zoning change

A controversial Santa Clara subdivision overcame its first hurdle when the city council approved a necessary zoning change allowing the 250-unit project to move ahead. Solace, a Cole West development, plans single-family residences, townhomes and short-term rental units on a little more than 50 acres along the Tuacahn Wash near Rachel Drive and Red Mountain Road adjacent to the existing Bella Sol subdivision. The Spectrum