Utah County rates high for sustained investment
Utah County was recently selected as one of the top counties in the nation positioned to attract modern investment and manage economic growth. In the recent Fourth Economy Community Index ranking for communities with a population of 500,000 or more, Utah County ranked third.
Calling the high rating a significant achievement, Fourth Economy Consulting observed that this is not just another “best places” rating, but rather an index to gauge the ability of communities to attract and retain sustainable investment. The award was presented to the Utah County Commission in their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 24.
Using statistical and qualitative factors, the FEC index examined factors in five areas at the county level: Investment, Talent, Sustainability, Place and Diversity. In the letter announcing the award, the company said, “Our experience suggests that these five areas serve as a foundation for future economic success,” and added, “Your community is among the best.”
In making the announcement, the reasons for the high ratings were outlined. Among those mentioned were the numerous outdoor recreational activities available while residents also enjoyed the conveniences of city life in one of America’s faster growing areas – the Provo-Orem metropolitan area. Citing county leadership, the announcement focused on the close partnerships between cities and the county, stating, “They have collaborated on initiatives to increase prosperity and resiliency for both the county and the city.”
Also drawing praise in the announcement was the consistency of the business-friendly environment and the county’s lead role in innovation technology. Utah County Economic Development Manager Russ Fotheringham said that Utah County citizens are “very entrepreneurial in Utah, especially in Utah Valley, and have a long-standing entrepreneurial spirit.” Also praised was the high quality workforce generated by Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University.
Summing up the high ranking Utah County received, Fourth Economy, the national economic development consulting firm responsible for the national ranking, said, “Utah County has successfully protected their recreational and natural assets while allowing economic growth in the core population center of the county. They have created space for high-tech, encouraged innovation in energy production and manufacturing, all while successfully building partnerships with universities, government and the private sector.”
Specific indicators used to determine rankings included wage and employment growth, education levels, drive times, home values, minority business ownership, alternative measures of employment, entrepreneurship and population density. Those measures were then weighted based on the level of influence they have on both internal and external investment decisions. Named first in the ranking was Washington County, Oregon, followed by Dane County, Wisconsin.
Utah County commissioners were recently presented an award recognizing the county’s ability to attract investment and manage economic growth.