According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross state product of Utah in 2012 was US$130.5 billion, or 0.87% of the total United States GDP of US$14.991 trillion for the same year. The per capita personal income was $45,700 in 2012. Major industries of Utah include: mining, cattle ranching, salt production, and government services.
According to the 2007 State New Economy Index, Utah is ranked the top state in the nation for Economic Dynamism, determined by “the degree to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, information technology-driven and innovation-based”. In 2014, Utah was ranked number one in Forbes’ list of “Best States For Business”. A November 2010 article in Newsweek magazine highlighted Utah and particularly the Salt Lake City area’s economic outlook, calling it “the new economic Zion”, and examined how the area has been able to bring in high-paying jobs and attract high-tech corporations to the area during a recession. As of September 2014, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.5%. In terms of “small business friendliness”, in 2014 Utah emerged as number one, based on a study drawing upon data from over 12,000 small business owners.
In eastern Utah petroleum production is a major industry. Near Salt Lake City, petroleum refining is done by a number of oil companies. In central Utah, coal production accounts for much of the mining activity.
According to Internal Revenue Service tax returns, Utahns rank first among all U.S. states in the proportion of income given to charity by the wealthy. This is due to the standard 10% of all earnings that Mormons give to the LDS Church. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Utah had an average of 884,000 volunteers between 2008 and 2010, each of whom contributed 89.2 hours per volunteer. This figure equates to $3.8 billion of service contributed, ranking Utah number one for volunteerism in the nation.
Utah collects personal income tax; since 2008 the tax has been a flat 5 percent for all taxpayers. The state sales tax has a base rate of 6.45 percent, with cities and counties levying additional local sales taxes that vary among the municipalities. Property taxes are assessed and collected locally. Utah does not charge intangible property taxes and does not impose an inheritance tax.
Tourism is a major industry in Utah. With five national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion), Utah has the third most national parks of any state after Alaska and California. In addition, Utah features seven national monuments (Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, and Timpanogos Cave), two national recreation areas (Flaming Gorge and Glen Canyon), seven national forests (Ashley, Caribou-Targhee, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-La Sal, Sawtooth, and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache), and numerous state parks and monuments.
The Moab area, in the southeastern part of the state, is known for its challenging mountain biking trails, including Slickrock. Moab also hosts the famous Moab Jeep Safari semiannually.
Utah has seen an increase in tourism since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Park City is home to the United States Ski Team. Utah’s ski resorts are primarily located in northern Utah near Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, and Provo. Between 2007 and 2011 Deer Valley in Park City, has been ranked the top ski resort in North America in a survey organized by Ski Magazine.
In addition to having prime snow conditions and world-class amenities, Northern Utah’s ski resorts are well liked among tourists for their convenience and proximity to a large city and international airport, as well as the close proximity to other ski resorts, allowing skiers the ability to ski at multiple locations in one day. The 2009 Ski Magazine reader survey concluded that six out of the top ten resorts deemed most “accessible” and six out of the top ten with the best snow conditions were located in Utah. In Southern Utah, Brian Head Ski Resort is located in the mountains near Cedar City. Former Olympic venues including Utah Olympic Park and Utah Olympic Oval are still in operation for training and competition and allows the public to participate in numerous activities including ski jumping, bobsleigh, and speed skating.
Utah features many cultural attractions such as Temple Square, the Sundance Film Festival, the Red Rock Film Festival, the DOCUTAH Film Festival, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Temple Square is ranked as the 16th most visited tourist attraction in the United States by Forbes magazine, with over five million annual visitors.
Other attractions include Monument Valley, the Great Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and Lake Powell.
Mining has been a large industry in Utah since it was first settled. The Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake County is one of the largest open pit mines in the world.
Beginning in the late 19th century with the state’s mining boom (including the Bingham Canyon Mine, among the world’s largest open pit mines), companies attracted large numbers of immigrants with job opportunities. Since the days of the Utah Territory mining has played a major role in Utah’s economy. Historical mining towns include Mercur in Tooele County, Silver Reef in Washington County, Eureka in Juab County, Park City in Summit County and numerous coal mining camps throughout Carbon County such as Castle Gate, Spring Canyon, and Hiawatha.
These settlements were characteristic of the boom and bust cycle that dominated mining towns of the American West. During the early part of the Cold War era, uranium was mined in eastern Utah. Today mining activity still plays a major role in the state’s economy. Minerals mined in Utah include copper, gold, silver, molybdenum, zinc, lead, and beryllium. Fossil fuels including coal, petroleum, and natural gas continue to play a large role in Utah’s economy, especially in the eastern part of the state in counties such as Carbon, Emery, Grand, and Uintah.
Potential to use renewable energy sources
Utah has the potential to generate 31.6 TWh/year from 13.1 GW of wind power, and 10,290 TWh/year from solar power using 4,048 GW of photovoltaic (PV), including 5.6 GW of rooftop photovoltaic, and 1,638 GW of concentrated solar power.