Business & Labor

Tord Sollie, Flickr

As Governor Herbert declares May Utah Golf Month a new report also shows the industry has a larger than expected impact on the state’s economy.

A group concerned about the future of the Salt Lake Tribune submitted an ad to both of the city’s daily newspapers to run on Saturday morning. But readers won’t see it in the Deseret News. 

File: League of American Bicyclists Screen Shot

Utah’s bicycle-friendly ranking is in the top ten in the nation for the first time ever. The League of American Bicyclists traditionally marks the beginning of National Bike Month by releasing its rankings. Utah moved to #8 compared to 2013’s #14 ranking. Each state gets a ranking based on a level of achievement in the 5 “E’s”; engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.

File: Bill Ingalls/NASA, via Associated Press

Alliant Techsystems announced it is merging the majority of its holdings with Orbital Sciences. The company is best known in Utah as ATK with operations in Magna, Clearfield and Promontory. A company press release says the 1-point-seven billion dollar deal involves spinning off the parent company’s Sporting Group.

The struggling fiber optic network UTOPIA may be partnering with a private company to offer high speed internet access to every home in the 11 participating Utah cities where it operates.  Australian investment firm Macquerie Capital has released a proposal to fund UTOPIA’s overhaul. It would require city-wide utility fees from every household in the network.

Bob Nelson

The monthly Consumer Attitude Index from Zions Bank increased by 3.7 percent from March to April. The Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index also rose by 0.7 percent. The Cicero Group conducts the research for Zions. Cicero’s CEO Randy Shumway says while the improving attitude index is causing some concerns about inflation, the state is not close to any real problem with that. He says crossing this attitude index milestone puts the state economy on track to be running on all cylinders by the end of the year.

The number of Utah women in CEO or corporate board positions is the 3rd lowest in the nation. The findings released Wednesday are from a Utah Valley University study titled “The Status of Women Leaders in Utah Business.” The report shows of the 228 companies surveyed, only 4.8 percent (11) have female chief executive officers compared to 95.2 percent (217) male CEO’s. That’s nearly 10 percent lower than national figures for women in business.

uber.com

A taxicab alternative e-travelers hail with a smartphone app will be available in Salt Lake City starting at seven o’clock tonight. Two companies called Uber and Lyft have announced plans to expand here, but city officials say the companies must first comply with safety and fair business rules.

Photo Dean via Flickr

Utah’s unemployment rate for March ticked slightly up from February to 4.1% but that isn't necessarily a bad sign. The rate increased two tenths of a percent from February’s unemployment rate of 3.9%. But Utah Department of Workforce Services Economist Mark Knold says it’s actually a sign that Utah’s economy is improving.

Utah has some of the highest payday lending rates in the nation. That’s according to a new report released this week from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The research indicates that a state’s limit on interest rates is the key factor driving loan pricing. Utah is one of seven states where there is no legal limit.

A new building for the next generation of entrepreneurs is coming to the University of Utah. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute announced today a 12 million dollar gift from Pierre Lassonde. Mr. Lassonde, a French Canadian mining entrepreneur with an MBA from the U, says his donation will be used to create a new facility where students will live, create, and launch new enterprises.

File: Utah Department of Agricultre and Food

The “Utah’s Own” line of locally generated products are going to be a prominent feature at the 8th Annual Governor’s Economic Summit Conference opening Thursday in downtown Salt Lake City. The unique public/private effort to promote the Utah brand is run through the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.  Jed Christenson is the director of marketing and economic development at Utah’s Own. He says their recent poll of 150 members shows an average increase of almost four jobs per company through the recession.

A restaurant near the University of Utah has closed, and a liquor license may be opening up. The Market Street Broiler shut its doors Monday, though it had only recently opened an oyster bar upstairs with a newly granted club license.

The Utah State Fair is underperforming according to a new report by the Office of the Utah State AuditorThe limited performance audit compared the Utah State Fair with several other state fairs around the country.  It specifically focused on similar fairs held in Arizona, Idaho, and New Mexico. David Pulsipher is the performance audit director.

File: Rocky Mountain Power

Plans were announced Wednesday for the first utility-scale solar project by Rocky Mountain Power. The 9,000-panel solar farm in Utah will produce enough power to supply 500 homes. Paul Murphy is the company’s spokesperson. He says Rocky Mountain Power is responding to the trend of increased customer desire for renewable energy and tax incentives being offered to keep the initial company investment down.

Park City Mountain Resort

The dispute over Park City Mountain Resort’s lease of land from Talisker Land Holdings, LLC has left the boardroom and spilled into the public domain.

Vail Resorts is now representing Talisker in the dispute after signing a long-term deal to operate the Talisker owned Canyons resort. Talisker has also offered to lease the land where Park City Mountain Resort now sits to Vail if and when 3rd district court judge Ryan Harris decides that PCMR failed to renew their lease with Talisker before it expired in 2011.

Salt Lake City is officially the home of the first Impact Hub in Utah. The HUB concept – which brings together social innovators and entrepreneurs - started in London and is now a global network spanning five continents. The space in Salt Lake isn’t ready yet, but organizers have a temporary space in the meantime. They call it a Pop-up HUB.

An Impact HUB is a place for innovators to do their work, but the marketing and operations director for HUB Salt Lake Ryan Chatterton will tell you, it’s more than that.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Utah’s employment numbers for February keep the state among the top five in the country with the lowest unemployment rate. The non-farm payroll employment grew by an estimated two and a half percent adding 32,200 jobs compared to the same month last year. Construction jobs had the highest single increase at 6.2 percent with 4100 new jobs. Carrie Mayne is the Chief Economist with the Department of Workforce Services. She says weather helped add builders to the workforce but construction is still a long way from reaching pre-recession levels.

Andrea Smardon

Utah’s ski industry leaders want to connect seven ski resorts in the Wasatch mountains. Ski Utah held a press conference Wednesday along with the general managers from the resorts to outline the interconnect concept.

Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty says it’s not a specific plan yet, but a concept. They call it One Wasatch, and the goal is to create the most efficient and enjoyable interconnected mountain resort ski experience in North America.

Bob Nelson

The thousands of commuters through Sugarhouse everyday may only be aware of the project called  'The Draw at Sugarhouse " due to traffic slowdowns on 1300 East. But on June 6th the traffic will once again flow freely when the tunnel between Sugarhouse Park and Hidden Hollow west of 13th is scheduled to officially open. New York artist and engineer Patricia Johanson dropped in to check on the progress Thursday. She won the design competition for the project 11 years ago.

Legislature Cracks Down on Payday Lenders

Mar 5, 2014

A bill imposing new restrictions on payday lenders in Utah passed a crucial vote in the Utah Senate today. HB127 requires payday lenders to disclose the terms of their consumer loans, including the typically high interest rates, before a contract is signed. And the Lenders won’t be allowed to pick the courts where they file lawsuits against borrowers who default either.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, cited the example of a payday lender in St. George.

Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake Bees Triple-A baseball team isn’t getting a new stadium, but it will have a different name starting this year.

The possibility of a new convention hotel in Salt Lake City is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would provide tax incentives for a private developer to build the hotel.  

File: Canyon Country Discovery Center Campaign

The Four Corners School in Monticello has announced they’ll start construction on the new $8.5 million Canyon Country Discovery Center Campus in June. Janet Ross, the executive director of the school, says it’s the realization of a dream that began in 2002.

File: Governor's Office of Economic Development

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, or GOED put its newly redesigned website on line today Monday. Michael Sullivan is the communications director for GOED. He says the new Business.Utah.Gov answers a request by businesses and the legislature for more transparency in the operation of the office.

File: C.R. England Trucking

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has been awarded a 496-thousand dollar grant to reduce the emissions of Wasatch Front-based heavy-duty trucks. The funding comes from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. Lisa Burr is senior research analyst with the Utah Division of Air Quality. She says the money goes directly toward improving engine technology.

A bill that would give a private developer financial incentives to build a new hotel and convention center in downtown Salt Lake City has been made public. The proposal recently gained the support of Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, but opponents say it’s not good policy.

Brian Grimmett

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, is one of a few legislators introducing bills that would give consumers more protection when dealing with payday lending companies.

HB127 would require deferred deposit lenders, also known as payday lenders, to start reporting detailed information about the loans they give out and how long it takes people to repay them. Rep. Dunnigan says this will help get to the bottom of the claim that payday lenders help create a cycle of debt for people with low income.

File: Governor's Office of Economic Development

Utah is the top destination state in the nation for products coming from Mexico but ranks only 37th among states exporting to Mexico.  The Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosted a free Mexico Business Symposium Monday at The Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake City in an attempt at reaching a better balance of trade. Harvey Scott is the director of International Trade and Diplomacy for the Office. He says while Utah already has strong business ties with Mexico, there is room for improvement.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams unveiled a new proposal today to get a hotel built to support the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake. 

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