Utah Leads the Intermountain West in Wage Growth and Industry Earnings

New GOED LogoRecently, Forbes magazine ranked Utah the No. 1 “Best State for Business and Careers”— but what about making a living? A recent study shows that Utah wages rank very competitively in the Intermountain West region.

When comparing Utah’s wages against the national average, Utah has a higher percentage of growth in every industry except one. 

“We are pleased to see that Utah’s wages are comparing very well to our neighboring states,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “This shows that Utah is not only the best state to do business, but it is also a great state to make a living. GOED’s mission is to ultimately improve quality of life for our residents, and good wages are a critical part of that.” 

The U.S. Department of Commerce released updated data sets through 2014 on Industry Earnings and Wages on September 30. Industry earnings are the total combined revenues of the employees and businesses in each specific industry, while the Department of Commerce’s wage metrics focus only on employee compensation. Ki Technologies Inc. /Regional Market Research Strategies LLC analyzed the data in-depth to find how Utah compares in wage compensation to our neighboring states in the Intermountain region, which comprises seven states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.  

From those comparisons, Utah ranked in the top one or two spots from 2010 to 2014, in seven out of ten industry sectors. The big result of the comparison is the fact that Utah ranked first in “total private sector wages,” leading the Intermountain West region with 25.8 percent growth within the past five years. 

“What is even more impressive about the comparison is that Utah’s wages follow our industry earnings very closely,” said Ben Hart, managing director of business services at GOED. “When we compare the national wages and industry earnings to Utah’s wages and industry earnings we see less impressive growth on the national level.  An important indicator for a healthy economy is efficient, sustainable growth. This data reaffirms that Utah has one of the healthiest and most robust economies in the country.”

Utah wage growth ranks first in retail trades, health care, and professional, scientific and technical services industries. In other industries such as construction, financial, wholesale trades and accommodation/food services, Utah’s wages come in second in the Intermountain region. Utah ranked third in manufacturing, fifth in transport and warehousing and fourth in oil, gas and minerals. 

Most important is the fact that Utah is above the national average in every industry sector except oil, gas and mining. A quick analysis of the data shows that the top three states in each category in the Intermountain West region collectively ranks above the national average 70 percent of the time. 

Much like wage compensation, Utah also leads in private industry earnings with a 26.8 percent increase over the past five years. Visithttp://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm for further information about the U.S. Department of Commerce data.