Business & Labor

Andrea Smardon

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.

Andrea Smardon

Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance held its first annual Downtown Symposium Tuesday. City leaders gathered to review the past year, and talk about what’s to come for Utah’s capital city.

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.

Brian Grimmett

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. 

Utah employment numbers rose by more than 32,000 in the May Jobs report released today by the Utah Division of Workforce Services.

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. 

SyberJet Aircraft

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. 

“We’ll be starting from the bottom up, and we’ll be manufacturing the detail parts, assembling the airplane, putting all the aircraft systems in the airplane, and flying it off the Cedar City Airport and delivering it to our customers,” Taylor says.

Downtown Farmers Market Extends Summer Hours

Jun 6, 2013
Courtesy of

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. 

Kennecott Utah Copper

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.

Kennecott Utah Copper

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.

Poverty in US suburbs is on the rise, but especially in Utah. A new book released Monday shows that the number of people living in suburbs below the federal poverty line has more than doubled in three major metropolitan areas in Utah over an 11-year span. In fact, the Salt Lake City area ranked number 3 in the nation for fastest growth in suburban poverty. 

Unemployment in Utah dipped to 4.7 percent last month, the state’s lowest rate since November 2008. Utah also added more jobs, prompting Governor Gary Herbert to declare the recession over in the state. 

Utah’s job growth in April was 3.5 percent, more than double the national average. Over one year, 43,000 jobs have been added. Juliette Tennert is Chief Economist in the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. 

Utah’s business mergers and acquisitions reached an all-time high last year. That’s according to a report from the MountainWest Capitol Network to be released on Thursday this week. 

The 2012 Deal Flow Report shows that there were 292 deals, topping 11 billion dollars.  Of those, 110 were mergers and acquisitions of Utah companies. Devin Thorpe is President of the MountainWest Capitol Network, and he says 2012 deals increased more than 60% over the year before.

In a four-to-three decision the Salt Lake City council adopted the Sugar House Streetcar alignment recommended by a consulting firm the city hired to study the project. In other words, the second phase of the streetcar will be routed north on 1100 east despite fierce opposition. But members of the council who favor that route say it’s in the best interest of the city as a whole to move forward.

Sugar House resident Mark Unruh says he doesn’t understand the council’s decision.

Senator Orrin Hatch on Tuesday filed 24 amendments to the comprehensive immigration bill put forward by a group of Senators known as the Gang of 8. Hatch’s amendments focus on law enforcement, high-skilled work, health benefits, and back taxes. 

Speaking in Salt Lake City last week, Hatch told KUER the immigration bill would substantially improve border security, but he said there’s more work to be done. 

After a nationwide search Governor Gary Herbert has appointed Carlos Braceras as the new director of the Utah Department of Transportation.

Braceras has worked for UDOT for almost 27 years and until today’s appointment had spent the past 12 as UDOT’s deputy director working directly under former director, John Njord. Braceras says as the new head of UDOT one of his main focuses will be to create better relationships with local communities.

Andrea Smardon

Senator Orrin Hatch spoke about immigration reform in Salt Lake City Wednesday at a Zions Bank client event. He praised the 844-page comprehensive legislation put forward by the group of Senators known as the Gang of 8, but stopped short of supporting it. 

Andrea Smardon

A pediatric medical device company has relocated from Silicon Valley to Salt Lake City. It’s called Fixes 4 Kids, and it recently launched its first device, designed to improve how elbow fractures are treated in children.

Once upon a time, a broken arm meant a bulky white cast covered in classmates signatures. But in the future, it will be a sleek, black customized orthosis. 

Kennecott Plans to Put Mine Back in Operation

Apr 25, 2013
Kennecott Utah Copper

  Kennecott Utah Copper is making plans to get the Bingham Canyon mine back in operation after a huge landslide two weeks ago.  Company spokesperson Kyle Bennett says they have a 40-day plan to look at containing costs but also keeping the ore moving to the smelting and refining facilities.

Bob Nelson

Homeowner advocates are calling on John Stumpf, the CEO of Wells Fargo Bank and bank shareholders to review the mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices of the bank. The bank’s annual shareholder meeting is in Salt Lake City Tuesday. The group Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project joined other advocate groups at the meeting to present a joint resolution. Josh Zinner is NEDAP's co-director.

One of the nation’s top commerce officials was in Utah today admiring the state’s economic development strategies and touting the president’s new initiative designed to bring high-tech manufacturing and clean energy jobs to communities across the country. 

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank toured Hexcel, a company in West Valley that produces structural materials for aircraft and space vehicles. Blank says Utah has explicitly built the infrastructure necessary to attract this type of industry and create jobs.

Salt Lake City officials unveiled the design scheme for the city’s new 2500 seat, Broadway-style Theater. It’s sleek and modern, but designers say they didn’t lose sight of the city’s surrounding historic architecture. 

Cesar Pelli is the lead architect for design firm Pelli Clark Pelli. He says the design scheme includes what he calls the city’s existing DNA. The New Performing Arts Center will be located on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City, just south of City Creek Center.

Kennecott Utah Copper

The early estimates of the size of the Bingham Canyon mine slide show that more than 165 million tons of rock and dirt have slid into the bottom of the mine. That makes this slide the largest to ever happen there. Kennecott Utah Copper spokesperson, Kyle Bennett, says it will have a large impact on their yearly copper production.

"The 165 million ton slide does translate, unfortunately, into a reduced production of refined and mined copper of about 50 percent,” he says.

Andrea Smardon

Utah’s first Microsoft store opened its doors Thursday at City Creek Center. Customers were greeted with high fives and cheers at the door. Some came for the giveaways and free concert tickets, but Kelly McClean of Salt Lake City says she came out of curiosity. 

“I’d never heard of a Microsoft store before, so I thought I’d come and check it out,” McClean says. 

Utah State Law Library

More Salt Lake City residents are recycling glass since curbside pickup started last fall. Today city officials celebrated the grand opening of a new facility that will increase the city’s capacity to process the glass and yield a more sustainable end product.