Utah: a model for domestic and global migration

Close to half of the growth of Utah’s workforce growth comes from domestic migration. It is the fasted growing state.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Utah’s labor force—the number of people ages 16 and over holding or seeking a job—has grown an average of 1.9% a year from 2010 through January 2018, more than triple the nation’s 0.6% pace, according to Labor Department data. Its workforce is more educated than the country’s, on average, making it more productive and thus appealing to many employers.

The state’s economy has expanded an average of 2.8% a year since 2010, the year after the recession ended, outperforming the U.S. rate of 2.2%, according to the Commerce Department.

More troubling from a long-term perspective, the nation’s labor force and economy have both grown much more sluggishly over the past two decades than over the previous five.

The U.S. workforce has increased just 0.7% a year since 2000, less than half the 1.7% pace of the previous 50 years. U.S. economic growth followed suit, slowing to an annual rate of just 2% since 2000, well below the 3.7% pace of the prior five decades….For the U.S. economy to expand faster, it is going to need more people working.

Utah has clocked the fastest-growing population of any U.S. state from 2010 through June 2018. The state is reaping the benefits of perennially high birthrates, in part reflecting the influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is based in Salt Lake City and encourages large families. This gives the state a large supply of young workers with strong local ties. Utah logged the highest birthrate among states again last year.

Utah also has strong rates of migration from other states and countries. In 2017, almost half its population growth came from people moving in, a stark turnaround from a net outflow right after the recession.

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