Attracting new companies to Utah to maintain the state’s economic prosperity

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) corporate recruitment team helps local and out-of-state companies expand operations in Utah.

The team focuses on companies categorized under one or more of the state’s six strategic industries: aerospace and defense, energy and natural resources, financial services, life sciences, outdoor recreation, and software and information technology. These companies contribute to Utah’s dynamic economy by creating high-paying jobs and making significant capital investments over time. 

The corporate recruitment team manages the state’s incentives programs, as outlined by the state Legislature, and can use post-performance tax credits to help attract new projects that meet specific criteria. It also works closely with private and public entities to help them achieve their economic development goals, meanwhile, supporting cities and counties with their goals.

The Utah Legislature has authorized economic development incentives in the form of post-performance tax rebates. Eligible companies work with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to outline specific performance criteria. Once GOED confirms those criteria have been met, companies can receive a state tax rebate. 

Many believe the state’s economic development incentives are only used to recruit out-of-state businesses. In fact, two out of every three companies that receive incentives are Utah-based businesses. 

“Companies make relocation and expansion decisions based on several factors. Incentives are one of 10 or more different decision drivers. Utah is fortunate that it has a compelling business case in several of the most critical decision drivers, combined with a competitive incentives program,” says Benjamin Hart, deputy director at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

As Utah continues to grow, estimates predict the state will need to add approximately 20,000 new jobs each year to provide enough jobs for new workers entering the workforce. While a percentage of those jobs will be created through Utah-based companies’ organic growth, to keep up with those projections and maintain its economic edge, the state needs to attract more jobs.

As a recent example, Salt Lake City has long envisioned its northwest quadrant as a regional manufacturing and logistics hub. When the opportunity to recruit a regional distribution center for Amazon arose, GOED’s corporate recruitment team worked with the company, state and city officials to provide an incentive to ensure Salt Lake City was the company’s new home. This catalyzed development that the city had long envisioned for this area. 

“Utah’s ability to collaborate with public and private entities, combined with the predictability and fiscal stability of the state, continually stand out to companies looking to make long-term investments. That mindset has and will continue to make Utah the number one state for business and the envy of the nation,” says Thomas Wadsworth, GOED’s business development and corporate incentives manager.

Of course, with growth, Utah’s communities can experience resource challenges. As requested this year by the Legislature in S.B. 172, GOED is undergoing an update to the state’s economic development plan that, among other issues, will address challenges and opportunities in transportation, affordable housing and environmental impacts of growth along with how the state encourages quality growth in strategic ways. Learn more about GOED’s efforts and provide feedback in public surveys here.