business, business climates, economy, employment, goldman sachs, jayanth sugavasi, real-estate, sugavasi.com, tax foundation study, united states business, united states employment, united states forbes, west is best, western countries, western neighbors
The U.S. economy grew by 2.5% in the third quarter which was its best performance in a year, but no one is breaking out the party hats just yet after the first half saw microscopic growth of 0.9%. Economic problems are still seemingly everywhere.
Unemployment is too high at 9.1% with underemployment running at a recent 16.2%. Housing prices continue to fall. U.S. corporate income taxes remain the second highest in the world. The Greek debt crisis is not going anywhere and gridlock in Congress continues unabated. It is enough to make anyone want to scream.
Yet for businesses or employees struggling with the question of where to relocate (or expand in the case of businesses), we offer a scorecard on what states have the best business climates.
Utah repeats this year as Forbes Best State for Business and Careers in our sixth annual look at the business climates of the 50 states. No state can match the consistent performance of Utah. It is the only state that ranks among the top 15 states in each of the six main categories we rate the states on.
Utah highlights include energy costs 31% below the national average and employment growth that has averaged 0.6% the past five years. Compare that to the U.S. as a whole where job growth has averaged negative 0.6% since 2005. Utah’s 5% corporate tax rate is well below western neighbors Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico. Utah ranks sixth in a new Tax Foundation study that looks at the tax burden on business in each state across different industries. As part of the ranking, we included the study which will be released to the public in the coming months.
Businesses are getting the message on Utah. Procter & Gamble, ITT, Home Depot and Boeing all announced expansions in Utah this year. The Goldman Sachs office in Salt Lake City is its second biggest in the Americas with more 1,000 employees and significant expansion expected over the next four years.
Technology companies particularly have had Utah on their radar as an affordable alternative to California with overall business costs in Utah 10% below the national average. Adobe Systems, eBay, Electronic Arts and Oracle have all expanded in Utah in recent years.
Companies are also attracted by Utah’s population growth which is one of the fastest in the country and provides a burgeoning workforce. “Utah has a young, dynamic economy with a vibrant high-tech sector,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.
The Utah story is far from over. Job growth is projected to be 2.4% annually through 2015 according to Moody’s, sixth best in the country (for more states with strong job growth forecasts.