Chatbooks is just one of a growing number of tech companies springing up in Utah. Though the state’s 4,300 tech companies are a small part of the picture, they’ve contributed to some impressive economic growth. Last year the economy in the Salt Lake City metropolitan statistical area grew 6.93%, the fourth-fastest rate among America’s 100 largest metro areas. The nearby Ogden-Clearfield MSA grew even faster, at 7.21% year-over-year. Median annual pay for college-educated workers in greater Salt Lake was $63,600, 36th in the nation, according to Payscale.com. (In Ogden, it’s $57,100).
That may be well below what college-educated workers command in Silicon Valley ($106,000) or New York ($72,300). But given that the cost per square foot for housing in Salt Lake is $138, just 10% of the $1,368-per-square-foot in New York City, according to nonprofit Silicon Slopes, at least some companies are betting workers might consider cheaper housing a fair trade.
Goldman Sachs has planted 2,000 employees in downtown Salt Lake. While business is adding to the region’s gross metro product, Utah’s large Mormon population drives up the state’s population with its large families. Thanks to this potent combination of fertility and economic growth, Salt Lake City jumps to the No. 5 spot on Forbes’ annual list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities, with Ogden right at its heels at No. 6.