Today's Dept. of Workforce Services (DWS) announcement of a notable decline in Utah's unemployment rate prompted a response from Governor Gary R. Herbert.
"This is a good sign. It means we are on the right road, going in the right direction. But it's certainly not time to relent. The number is still too high and we have more than 85,000 Utahns seeking jobs," the Governor said. "My number one job is growing jobs, and my administration and cabinet are full throttle, doing all we can to reach our goal of 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days."
The DWS monthly report, entitled "Utah Jobs Summary," stated, "Utah continues to be one of the nation's leading employment growth states. Nearly all industrial sectors have added jobs over the past 12 months, and the employment rebound appears on firm footing as the economy moves into 2012."
The announcement follows the Governor's Wednesday meeting with his Economic Development Council, a mix of key state economic leaders tasked with creating a plan to improve Utah's economy. The council moved four specific recommendations forward:
1) Revamp the structure, coordination and service delivery of Business Resource Centers (BRC) statewide-including the creation of an online BRC-to create a one-stop resource shop for anyone wanting to start a business and needing to know where to turn for models, financial assistance, Small Business Administration guidance, etc.
2) Based on the successful Fund of Funds model, create a Seed Fund of Funds to leverage state dollars with private dollars for new start-up companies
3) Expand outreach and technical assistance to Utah companies, helping them enlarge their international markets, through World Trade Center Utah and the State's International Trade and Diplomacy Office.
4) Align and expand DWS training and re-training programs with marketplace demands and high-demand industries.
The recommendations from the Governor's Economic Council complement additional initiatives outlined in the Governor's budget announcement on Monday, including his plans to recruit new companies to Utah, broaden the Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) program to all counties, and reduce the unemployment insurance tax rate for Utah employers, 88% of which are small businesses.
"We have to stay focused on the basics of economic recovery-education, jobs and energy. I'm convinced if we stay true to prudent budget principles, ensure Utah is business-friendly, and prioritize the basics for economic recovery, Utah's economic footing will remain sure and our future hopeful," the Governor said.