Utah’s resilience a model for the nation

The Salt Lake Chamber’s Roadmap to Recovery Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, released its Economic Dashboard update for March, providing a compelling picture of Utah’s business resilience. The Dashboard provides leaders with actionable intelligence related to current indicators important for guiding their organizations, as it tracks the State’s path to a full and complete economic recovery from the pandemic recession and provides context for decision makers. 

From our most recent data, it’s clear how committed Utah business leaders are to overcoming the pandemic recession. Once again, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.3%, and retail sales continue to provide a surge in revenue for the State,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. “This recovery is still in progress — and many are still struggling — but we are encouraged by the nascent growth returning, as vaccine distribution begins to constrain this virus. Our commitment to public health throughout this pandemic has provided stability and confidence for consumers and employees, and while we are emerging from this experience I am heartened by how we have come together to weather it as well as anyone anywhere.” 

Three essential insights from the March 2021 Roadmap to Recovery Dashboard include:

  1. Utah’s 3.3% unemployment rate is lowest in the nation. Utah’s unemployment rate of 3.3% is the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, tied with South Dakota. This marks the fifth consecutive month of decline.
  2. Overall taxable retail sales soar. Taxable retail sales never decreased significantly from the pandemic. In fact, taxable retail sales for March-December 2020 were all higher than the 2019 average. However, while some industries are increasing, others are still suffering declines.
  3. Vaccine doses continue to climb. By the end of February, more than 700,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to Utah residents. In recent weeks, Utah has administered more than 80,000 doses per week.

The Dashboard is updated constantly, providing essential insights, tracking 10 leading measures, and sharing pertinent indicators dating back to the beginning of the pandemic — all providing leaders a needed foundation on which to make informed decisions. 

“Our new metrics reveal what we already believed to be true: Utah is exceptional in its public and private leadership. The continued drop in unemployment, with Utahns finding jobs and participating in the regrowth of our economy, stands out,” said Natalie Gochnour, Director of the Gardner Institute and Chief Economist for the Salt Lake Chamber. “I marvel at the sheer grit and resilience of our community to pull together and battle this virus as one. Our fundamentals are strong because we managed the health and economic consequences together and never sought to trade one for the other. The last hurdle I see is finishing vaccine distribution through the healthier parts of our community so we ensure broad protection and rapid resumption of demand across each sector of our economy.”

The Roadmap to Recovery Coalition is a business-led coalition, supported by the Salt Lake Chamber, focused on implementing and promoting Utah’s economic recovery. The Coalition is co-chaired by Mikelle Moore, SVP and Chief Community Health Officer at Intermountain Healthcare, and Scott Parson, CEO, Staker Parson Materials & Construction. Investors in the Coalition include Mountain America Credit Union, WCF Insurance, Deseret Management Corporation, Intermountain Healthcare, Staker Parson Materials & Construction, and Rio Tinto Kennecott.

To view the Roadmap to Recovery Dashboard, visit slchamber.com/roadmap-dashboard.