Poll: Utahns mixed on state of economy amid inflation worries

When it comes to the current state of the economy, it turns out that Utahans are far more optimistic about what’s happening in their home state compared to the rest of the country.

But opinions are almost evenly divided on the actual performance of the local economy.

A new statewide Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found that 48% of respondents think Utah’s economy is performing at a “good” or “excellent” level, while only 20% rate the overall US economy as “good” or “excellent”. shape.

And while 78% rated the state of the nation’s economy as “fair” or “poor,” 50% rate Utah’s economic climate as “fair” or “poor.”

The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from February 7-17 among 808 registered Utah voters. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.45 percentage points.

Young Utahns tended to be more pessimistic about the national economy than older residents, with 92% of survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 rating it as “fair” or “poor.” Younger residents were also of the same opinion regarding Utah’s economy, as 78% of this age group rated it as “fair” or “poor”.

Just over half of Democrats and Republicans in the survey rate Utah’s economy as “excellent” or “good,” but Republicans were less optimistic about the national economy than Democrats.

Phil Dean, a senior public finance fellow at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, said Utah’s economy outperforms most of the country, which likely explains participants’ sunnier disposition. in the survey regarding the local economy.

“I think that’s well-founded optimism for Utah’s economy,” Dean said. “We still have many challenges ahead, and the growth is significant, but there are plenty of reasons to be positive.”

Utah continues to lead the nation in job growth after the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vast majority of the state’s business sectors are fully recovered and in growth mode in terms of jobs. jobs, he said.

Dean also noted that while the Deseret News poll data showed better respondent positivity about Utah’s economy compared to the rest of the United States, a majority still weighed in on the “correct” ratings or “mediocre” and believe record inflation is being felt by all Utahns.

“Every day people see in their own jobs and personal finances what’s going on and they feel reasonably good about it,” Dean said. “But inflation hits us hard in housing, groceries and gas pumps.”

A report released last week by the Salt Lake Chamber noted that Utah’s two-year December job growth of 3.7% was the highest in the nation and one of only four states to show a positive evolution of employment. And, the state hit 1.9% unemployment, the lowest on record for the state and currently the second lowest in the nation.

Phil Dean, senior public finance fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, speaks at the 2022 Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit at Grand America in Salt Lake City on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

Phil Dean, senior public finance fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, speaks during the 2022 Utah Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit at Grand America in Salt Lake City on January 13, 2022.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

House Speaker and CEO Derek Miller said inflationary pressures were also impacting the state’s business community, but continued growth across all sectors would help boost the economy of the state.

“Utah’s economic engine continues to grow, reaching near our employment limits,” Miller said in a statement last week. “Executive confidence has slipped amid broader concerns of lingering inflation and hampered supply chains. Despite these challenges, Utah’s growth is leading the nation with construction, business services, trade and transport that pushes our economy upwards.

Natalie Gochnour, director of the Gardner Policy Institute, also saw the new chamber data as evidence of a necessary, but not necessarily negative, recalibration of the state’s economy.

“The economic scorecard shows that our state not only leads the country in key areas, but also underscores our potential for growth,” Gochnour said in a statement. “The economy is reaching its current limit, with the unemployment rate bottoming out at less than 2% and labor shortages limiting our ability to grow.

“This healthy rebalancing within the economy – as people continue to re-enter the workforce and industrial sectors recalibrate – are positive signs overall. Greater concerns about supply chains, lingering inflation and pandemic-related challenges are still impacting Utah, but to a lesser extent than other states. I am optimistic that we will continue to adapt and lead the country as we emerge from the pandemic. »

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