Federal workers and furloughed employees are holding a rally Thursday at the Ogden Federal Building to protest the government shutdown. Ogden-Clearfield is one of the top 10 metro areas in the country affected by the furloughs. Hill Air Force Base is Utah's largest employer with some 25,000 federal employees and contractors.
The federal government shutdown is delaying and even stopping some lenders from finalizing home loans. With the Internal Revenue Service closed for business, lenders are unable to obtain borrowers tax transcripts, which is a vital step in approving a mortgage. The US Department of Agriculture, which processes rural home loans is closed as well.
Babs De Lay is the principal broker and owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates. She says lenders, buyers and sellers are panicked.
The Consumer Attitude Index in Utah is at its highest point since Zions Bank created the tracking system three years ago. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group says the CAI increased 4.3 points from August to September to 92.6. He says that’s a marked improvement over the decrease this month in the national Consumer Confidence Index of 2.1 points to 79.7. Shumway says the percentage of Utahns who think business conditions are normal or good jumped 5 percentage points to 91 percent on the diversity of the state’s economy.
A battle over food stamps is coming to the floor of the U.S. House this week. Republican leaders are backing a bill that would cut $40 billion from the program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, over the next 10 years. At the same time a new study released by the Food Research and Action Center, shows that in the last four years, about one in four households in Utah with children struggle to afford food for their families. Utah is just below the national average by about 1 percent.
Gina Cornia is executive director of Utahns Against Hunger.
Utah Transit Authority will begin testing the Sugar House Streetcar line early next week. In the meantime, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and UTA officials gathered along a residential section of the streetcar corridor this morning to unveil the look and name of the streetcar. Here’s a hint: It’s a familiar design.
The next time you go shopping for a big ticket item you might want put on your best pair of four inch heels. At least that's what BYU professors Jeffrey Larson and Darron Billeter recommend in their newly released study.
Larson and Billeter find that when a shopper, whether online or in person, has to think about balance they are more likely to weigh their options and go with a product in the middle of the price range.
Salt Lake City and the Downtown Alliance released their parking survey results to the public today with some surprising results. The city’s transportation director Robin Hutcheson says people parking downtown have seen big changes in the last year and a half.
“It was a lot for our public to take in and we’ve been working very diligently to listen, take the feedback…understand the changes we need to make going forward,” say Hutcheson.
The latest findings from an ongoing study by the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration show that the U’s move to the PAC-12 conference continues to financially benefit the state and university.
Utah’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in July, and the number of jobs was expanding at an annual rate of 3.5 percent. That’s a strong employment picture compared to the rest of the country, but Jonathan Springmeyer with Bonneville Research says it’s not keeping pace with Utah’s population.
“While we are back to where we were before the recession, it doesn’t count all the people that have entered into the job market," Springmeyer tells KUER. "Jobs are improving, but we’re still not keeping up with growth.”
Moab residents are putting their support behind a bid by Skywest Airlines to establish regular flights between Salt Lake City and the popular south eastern Utah community. A recent presentation for Essential Air Service, or EAS, included the current contractor, Denver-based Great Lakes Aviation as well as Skywest and Boutique Air. Bill Groff is Chair of the Grand County Airport Board. He says the interest in making a change is high.
A group of entrepreneurs is creating a center for social innovation in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. Known as HUB Salt Lake, the center is expected to open its doors by late fall.
HUB Salt Lake will be located in the former Zim’s Arts and Crafts store at 150 South State Street. Right now, it’s 13,000 square feet of open space. City councilmember and architect Søren Simonsen is a co-founder, and he imagines the HUB as a workspace for entrepreneurs trying to solve societal problems.
While Utah and the country may be climbing out of a recession, many young people are not feeling the recovery. A recent analysis by the Center for American Progress found that more than 10 million youth are unable to find full-time work. 17-year-old Fiona Boomer of Ogden wrote to us at KUER about her difficulty finding summer employment, and we asked her to keep a journal in her quest to find a job. This is Fiona’s story.
A report released Tuesday shows that retail sales in downtown Salt Lake City were up 36 percent last year, largely driven by business at City Creek Center. But some businesses at The Gateway Shopping Center say they are not seeing the same trend.
Some members of the Salt Lake County Council want a bigger role in deciding who the mayor appoints to county offices, boards and departments. They’ll consider an ordinance on Tuesday that would give them more time to review the resumes and qualifications of the mayor’s appointees.
The proposal requires the mayor provide information to the council about nominees prior to making an appointment. It also requires some nominees to interview with the council. Republican Council Chair David Wilde is advocating for the changes.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert says his office is exceeding expectations at the half-way point of a goal to create 100 thousand jobs in one thousand days.
Speaking at a high tech manufacturing plant that chose to expand in Utah last year, Governor Herbert announced that the private sector has created 63,600 jobs since he announced the goal during his 2012 state of the state speech. Herbert says when companies choose to expand in Utah it often creates a ripple effect that leads to even more job creation.
The Salt Lake City council sidestepped the mayor’s veto of the city- council-approved budget today, which includes an $8 million property tax hike.
The council overrode the mayor’s veto on a five to two vote, with Councilman Stan Penfold and outgoing Councilman Carlton Christensen voting no. Outgoing Councilman Soren Simonsen said the city can no longer scale back on maintenance to keep ordinary government operations afloat.
The Salt Lake City Council approved the city’s $200 million budget yesterday, which includes an $8 million property-tax hike. The council approved the increase despite Mayor Ralph Becker’s objections.
Outgoing Councilwoman Jill Remington Love says the city has had to make tough budget decisions in the past few years. Because of a weak economy, rising health care costs and retirement, it’s now dealing with a dire structural deficit.
The US Supreme Court struck down some of Myriad Genetics’ patents today on its breast and ovarian cancer test. But the Salt Lake City company is focusing on what the ruling left intact. Myriad officials say the company still has 24 different patents.
The Salt Lake County Planning Commission unanimously recommended denying a developer’s request to rezone a parcel of land at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Tavaci development was initially approved as a subdivision for single family homes. But the owner is pursuing the rights to build something larger.
Utah is now home to one of the fastest light business jets in the world. SyberJet Aircraft announced this week that it has selected Cedar City as the location for its headquarters and the new SJ30 assembly plant. SyberJet Aircraft President Chuck Taylor says the new seven-seat SJ30 will be assembled from start to finish in Utah.
The Downtown Farmers Market opens for the summer this Saturday in Pioneer Park. Vendors selling locally-grown produce and goods will stay a little later than normal this year.
Nearly ten thousand people every Saturday during the summer visit the downtown farmers market, so this year vendors will stay open an extra hour. Kim Angeli is Director of the Downtown Farmers Market and she says the extra hour will give people more time and room to browse.
A bipartisan group of Utah mayors have sent a letter to Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, urging them to immediately pass immigration reform legislation. From Fruit Heights to Salt Lake City to St. George, 19 mayors signed the letter. It calls for comprehensive immigration reform, and warns that Utah communities will face significant challenges unless that reform is enacted.
Workers at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper are breathing a sigh of relief after mine officials announced today there would not be another big layoff. A recent landslide at the Bingham Canyon Mine has forced the company to drastically reduce production and layoff some administrative staff.
About 100 employees at Kennecott Utah Copper have been laid off as a result of last month’s slide at the Bingham Canyon Mine. Kennecott spokesperson Kyle Bennett says the layoffs affected employees across the ranks of the mine’s salaried workforce. None were union employees, though he says some hourly workers will have to be let go before the end of the month.
As the debate on immigration reform continues in the US Senate, immigrants in Salt Lake City held a press conference and vigil Wednesday night urging Senator Orrin Hatch to support legislation that creates a path to citizenship and keeps families together.
The event was organized by the Salt Lake DREAM team, immigrant young people who want a chance to earn their citizenship through college or military service. In their stories, what you hear are dreams deferred.