Utah Chases North Dakota as Job Creation Engine

Oil-fueled North Dakota and Utah lead the nation in job creation, but Utah’s resurgence reflects more broad-based gains, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Writes Eric Morath:

The employment boom in the West isn’t confined to energy-rich North Dakota.

Utah has emerged this year as a job creation leader, according to Labor Departmentdata released Monday. The state’s July unemployment rate of 3.6% ranks only behind North Dakota’s minuscule 2.8%. Utah payrolls have grown by 2.5% over the past six months, also second-best in the country.

But unlike North Dakota’s oil-fueled expansion, Utah’s economic resurgence reflects broad-based gains, said University of Utah economist Natalie Gochnour.

While energy is a growing field in the state, the tourism and technology sectors have been strong and financial services is expanding, she said. Salt Lake City has the highest number of Goldman Sachs GS +1.54% employees in North America, after New York.

Utah was “hit harder during the downturn, but it’s recovered more quickly the rest of the country,” Ms. Gochnour said. She also serves a chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber.