ECON 101 | Urban Living
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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

ECON 101

Posted By on August 18, 2021, 4:00 AM

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Remember back in Economics 101 when we learned what a Gross Domestic Product is? Refresher: It's the market value of all the goods and services produced in a certain geographic area.

Places with a large GDP will generally have a high standard of living. Politicians and economists want their city, county, state and/or country to have a great GDP, and Utah has that golden ray of sun shining through the clouds at us right now. Forbes magazine has just rated us the number one state for growth in our gross domestic production. But really, what does that mean?

Utah's economy is hot. It has been for several years. Our GDP has grown from $123.47 billion in 2010 to $168.62 billion in 2020, despite COVID. It grew 82% from 2000 to 2020 and the pandemic barely seems to have made a major difference in our state's production machinery, having come back from the pandemic faster than any other state. We have a diversified economy that's strong in technology, oil, gas, salt and coal mining, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and finance.

Sadly though, the drought we're suffering may tilt some of the figures into negative columns in the next few years and slow our GDP. For example, since farmers can't get water to grow hay, ranchers are planning to sell off stock because hay is too expensive, which could send beef prices skyrocketing. Snow totals are down and expected to get worse, which will affect tourism at our resorts—this despite how well known we are as a skiing destination since we hosted the world in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The next nine states with the highest GDP are Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, California, Texas, Georgia and Florida. The western states are all experiencing extreme weather conditions, which include heat and drought as well as fires. GDP can turn sour if we buy less, government cuts back on spending, we export less and business investment falls. Utah exports a wide variety of goods, like microchips, medical equipment, aircraft parts, and auto safety products. But if you want to win the weekly trivia night at your local pub, answer this question: What is our largest mineral export? (fade in Jeopardy music). GOLD! Utah and Nevada are the two states neck and neck with gold production.

If you're a stats geek or just interested in following the health of our economy, watch the periodic, but regular GDP reports. If the measurement in Utah begins to drop, that means we're going to see a decline in per-capita income. Low-wage earners will suffer more than the affluent, as in the adage 'The poor get poorer, the rich get richer'. When you hear reporters talk of businesses suffering, declining revenues and unemployment rising, the talk will start up again to suss out if we are heading into a recession. What we do know right now is that food and gas prices are just going up, up and up, which is making an impact on all our standards of living.

About The Author

Babs Delay

Babs Delay

Bio:
De Lay is realtor/broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates. She is a former member of the Utah Transit Authority's Board of Trustees.

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