Utah has ‘a lot of cushion’ that will help it withstand an economic downturn

Jul 28, 2022, 6:33 PM | Updated: 10:34 pm

SALT LAKE CITY —The news Thursday of a second consecutive month of falling gross domestic product raised more fears that we are in or very close to a recession but Utah may be in a better position than most states to help us get through a recession. 

“I think there’s a lot of cushion room here in the Utah economy before any potential United States recession would really start to bite into the Utah economy,” said Mark Knold, chief economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

In an interview with KSL-TV, Knold said that his department is not seeing a climb in unemployment insurance claims that would be a “canary in the coal mine” warning of a recession.

“Usually that’s the first thing to start triggering,” Knold said. “You get them on a weekly basis. You start to see them climb. That starts to tell you that some kind of job losses or layoffs are going on. No evidence of that at all right now in Utah.”

He said Utah’s economy is super strong, with ultra-low unemployment of 2% and many unfilled jobs that would give the state a buffer during an economic downturn.

EXPLAINER: How do we know when a recession has begun?

“So when you have a recession and it does turn into any kind of a job slowdown or job contraction, you have all of those not-filled jobs to disappear before you start getting into real jobs that will disappear,” Knold said.

Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner told KSL-TV that he expects a recession in 2023.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re either on the cusp of recession or we’re sliding into recession, but we’re not there just yet,” he said.

He also said that Utah’s economy is in a good starting place.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Utah has ‘a lot of cushion’ that will help it withstand an economic downturn