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

Mt. Pleasant wins grant for flood control, irrigation

What may be the largest infrastructure grant in Sanpete County history has been awarded to Mt. Pleasant City to rehabilitate its irrigation water and flood control systems. The city council announced the award of a $15 million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of USDA. J-U-B Engineering, the city’s consultant on the project, must still complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) as well as design and engineering.

The award was made possible by the new federal budget approved on March 23, which allotted $895 million to USDA for rural water and waste disposal projects. While exact details will have to wait for design and engineering, the overarching goals of the project will be to improve flood protection for the city, separate agricultural and residential irrigation users and completely replace the city’s irrigation system. Sanpete Messenger

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:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sevier Valley Hospital celebrates completion of construction

Since 2012, one part or another of Sevier Valley Hospital has been under construction. Last week, a pair of ribbon cutting ceremonies was hosted to celebrate the official end of major construction on the hospital’s campus. The final two pieces of the hospital construction were the emergency center and the women and infants center. The expansion of the emergency room and the construction of the women and infants center represents a $10.1 million investment into the hospital’s infrastructure. This is in addition to the $16 million expansion and renovation project that was completed in 2014. The Richfield Reaper

Richfield approves 1300 South project

The Richfield City Council awarded a bid to Rasmussen Construction for a project that will include improvements on 1300 South and 800 South during a meeting Aug. 28. The construction on 1300 South will included the widening of the road, and installation of turn lanes so that a traffic signal can be installed. The signal, Richfield’s sixth, will be the first one not located on the city’s Main Street. Instead, it will be at the intersection of 1300 South and College Avenue. The construction will affect between one and three blocks worth of roadway. The low bid on the project, submitted by Rasmussen Construction, was $564,295. While construction could start this fall, Creamer said it will depend on schedules and the weather. Richfield Reaper

Wasatch Academy to build new addition

Wasatch Academy has begun construction for a new addition to their expansive campus by removing two old buildings. The new building will be specialized for housing the academy’s growing engineering department. The new, Wasatch Academy Engineering Building is estimated to be completed by late May 2019. These spaces will allow students to explore deeper into the sciences of robotics and engineering while being guided by experienced teachers. Larger projects, such as student-made solar heaters, will now be able to be stored whereas in past years, they often had to be disassembled so other classes could share the same space. Sanpete Pyramid

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Regents give Snow College OK to pursue student housing in Richfield

The Utah State Board of Regents on Friday authorized Snow College to participate in a public-private partnership to develop 100 units of student housing on its Richfield campus.

The housing will be developed on college property. The campus is landlocked by I-70, Richfield High School and well-established residential neighborhoods to the north and south. Under the agreement, a private developer will build and maintain the housing units and parking lots. Snow College will lease the land to the developer at low cost and provide lease payments to the winning bidder from housing fees paid by students. The facility would become college property at the end of the 40-year agreement. Deseret News

Glenwood nabs $1 million grant

The Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board voted June 14, to award the Town of Glenwood a $1 million grant for pedestrian crossings to the town hall, post office, retirement home and religious buildings as part of a flood control improvement plan.

In addition, Sigurd was awarded a $121,000 grant for installation of chip seal and crack seal to multiple town streets and Annabella was awarded a $30,000 grant to complete a roadway and infrastructure analysis to assist with maintenance, preservation and planning. Richfield Reaper

Site outside Milford chosen for experimental geothermal power project

The federal government is planning to spend up to $140 million toward plans at the University of Utah to research and develop a new method for extracting geothermal energy from the earth. The U.S. Department of Energy picked the windswept area northwest of Cedar City to expand the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, or FORGE, with hopes of developing a more efficient way to use the earth's heat to meet electricity needs.

The plan involves drilling two 8,000-foot wells into the ground beneath the site. Water is sent underground into the heat of the earth and then drawn back up to the surface, where its steam can be used to move a turbine and generate electricity. The Spectrum