Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Valley Optimism - 2nd Daily Universe story

Utah Valley optimism keeping businesses ahead
Wed, 07/01/2009 - 23:09

Forbes Magazine recently ranked Utah Valley first in its job growth analysis, with local businesses winning more than 40 Best of State Awards.

In Forbes’ tenth annual ranking of the best places for businesses and careers, Provo has the eighth-fastest job growth in the past five years at 4.2 percent annually.

Bucking national trends, employment actually accelerated in 2007 and was up 5.5 percent.

Crime rates in Provo are among the lowest in the country and 31 percent of the adult population has a college degree, compared with 23 percent nationally.

“The ‘Happy Valley’ optimism is keeping businesses ahead — both nationally and locally,” said Joel Racker, president of the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The “optimism” Racker referred to has to do with the number of college graduates and their level of education in the area as well as the diversity of businesses. This combination, Racker said, brings optimism and, in effect, a stronger economy.

Any economy is going to struggle when it is powered by one specific industry, Racker said.
Park City, for example, does extremely well during its peak season: winter. However, strolling down Main Street on a summer afternoon, it may seem more like a ghost town. In comparison, Provo has businesses and recreational opportunities that fit every season and interest.

“Our partners and businesses in Utah Valley have had a ‘weather the storm’ attitude from the beginning,” Racker said.

With the mission to bring money to the local economy, the Convention and Visitors Bureau is initiating web and radio campaigns as well as brochures in over 1300locations to attract tourists from neighboring states as well as residents throughout Utah.

Because of the tax revenue brought in by tourists, the average Utah Valley household pays about $700 less in taxes.

Some of the efforts being pressed by the Convention and Visitors Bureau to increase tourism in Utah Valley include multiple festivals: The Freedom Festival, Strawberry Days and the Tulip Festival.

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