Christened The Crossroads of the West as its official moniker, Salt Lake City is itself at its own critical juncture when it comes to being one of America’s fastest growing boomtowns, where just four years ago, its home state of Utah led the nation in job growth.
Indeed, the Salt Lake City economy has witnessed a boom in its own right, where, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state capital’s low unemployment rate — 2.1 percent in Q3 2022 — remained unchanged from the same time the year prior, compared to a nationwide unemployment rate of 3.4 percent in October.
Utah’s unemployment rate is almost always below that of the national average, boasting a rich economic diversity from a source of different industries. Originally a farming and mining community, the last few decades have seen the Salt Lake City economy expand and diversify to include numerous sectors — both burgeoning and established — that continue to explain its high-level growth.
“Salt Lake City is well-established as the economic hub of the Wasatch Front, Utah as a whole, and the Intermountain West region,” notes a February 2022 report by the University of Utah. “With nearly 300,000 jobs — 40 percent of all jobs in Salt Lake County; and nearly 20 percent of Utah’s total jobs — Salt Lake City’s economy is large and diverse, although inextricably linked to the local and regional economies.” The report adds that Salt Lake City hosts more than 294,000 jobs — or about 19 percent of all jobs in Utah — and 40 percent of all jobs in Salt Lake County.
Let’s take a look at some of the key private sectors leading the way in Salt Lake City, Utah jobs, with some of the largest gains in the last year, based on BLS data and current employment statistics
Trade, Transportation and Utilities
Each of these three fields comprises what the BLS coins a “service-providing industries supersector” that includes:
- Wholesale trade: establishments engaged in selling merchandise wholesale to other businesses, usually operating out of a warehouse or office
- Retail trade: establishments that sell directly to consumers, either through storefront locations or online
- Transportation and warehousing: establishments that transport passengers and cargo via air, rail, water, road and pipeline, and warehouses to store goods
- Utilities: establishments engaged in providing electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply and sewage removal
Combined, the trade, transportation and utilities industries accounted for the creation of 13,600 new jobs in 2022 — the largest growth last year of any local industry, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Manufacturing and Industrial
The Utah state capital’s industrial market continues to prove its worth as a vital addition to the Salt Lake City economy, landing a top spot on Colliers’ latest research report, “10 Emerging U.S. Industrial Markets to Watch in 2022.”
Demand for industry in Salt Lake City remains high. The Colliers report notes that the amount of industrial space under construction in the city totaled 13.2 million square feet at the end of 2021, with approximately one-third of the space already pre-leased. Utah’s manufacturing sector represents nearly a third of all industrial users across the state, according to the report.
Manufacturing provides 143,461 jobs in Utah and is the state’s fifth-largest industry, according to the University of Utah report.
Education and Health Services
Major components in furthering Salt Lake City’s economic development, both sectors were just one of several that experienced significant growth within the last decade, according to an October 2022 report by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise as part of its American Growth Project.
In the last year alone, from October 2021 to October 2022, education and health services experienced a 2.9 percent employment jump, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 11,500 new jobs added during that time frame.
Travel and Tourism (aka Leisure and Hospitality)
A growing industry in Utah as Salt Lake City becomes an increasingly popular tourist draw, 9,900 new jobs were added in the leisure and hospitality segment in the past year, notes the Department of Workforce Services. It’s one of Utah’s top industries, ranking eighth biggest statewide, with its visitor economy generating $10.1 billion annually — 46 percent attributed to Salt Lake City’s own visitor economy, notes the Salt Lake City Tribune.
“The State of Utah’s Travel and Tourism Industry,” a 2022 report by the University of Utah, notes that this visitor spending both directly and indirectly creates and maintains jobs in the segment. “In 2020,” the report notes, “the $7.07 billion in direct visitor spending generated 82,100 direct jobs and supported around 37,500 additional indirect and induced jobs, summing to 119,600 total jobs statewide.”
Salt Lake City isn’t called the “Silicon Slopes” for nothing. It’s one of the fastest growing sectors in North America, as an emerging tech startup industry poses itself as a competitor to other smaller markets.
CBRE ranked Salt Lake City 18th in its 2022 Scoring Tech Talent report, due to, according to Utah Business, a strong showing of tech talent job growth. “Its tech workforce of 55,930,” notes the publication, “grew by 29 percent, and computer engineering talent grew by 51 percent from 2016 to 2021.”
In Salt Lake City, high-tech industries account for 6 percent of overall employment, compared to 9.5 percent nationally, according to The Center Square Utah.
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This is just a sampling of the diversified — and growing — industries in Salt Lake City, and if you’re looking to make your career here, or just want a change in career trajectory, TalentSpark has built our reputation helping match people with the right fit that’s maximized their roles in the local job market.
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