Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yay for Utah - The Economist / Judy

Finally, some happy news. Look what I found in The Economist, of all places. Be sure to check out the consensual politics!

The Mormon Work Ethic

Oct 23rd 2008 | SALT LAKE CITY
From The Economist print edition

Why Utah’s economy is soaring above its neighbours NOBODY knows quite how the contagion that broke out in Wall Street will affect the rest of America, nor how deep or how long the likely recession will be. What is certain is that some places will suffer more than others. So far Utah, a state best-known for Mormonism and pretty rocks, is looking unusually healthy. “We’ve got a lot to be proud of,” says Jon Huntsman, the governor. “Certainly more than many of our neighbours.”

Indeed, Utah has more to be proud of than any other state in the West. In September its unemployment rate was just 3.5%—less than half of California’s and the second-lowest rate in the region after oil- and gas-rich Wyoming. Last month the Milken Institute declared Provo, a sprawling settlement south of Salt Lake City, America’s best-performing city for technology output and job and wage growth. Salt Lake City itself came third…

Another, hidden, source of strength is Utah’s strange demography. Mormons tend to start families young: the average Utah woman marries at just 22.

That means the “echo boom”—the peak of childbearing by baby boomers—took place not around 1990, as in the rest of America, but ten years earlier. One reason unemployment is rising across the West is that a wave of teenagers is crashing onto the job market. Utah, by contrast, has few teenagers and lots of productive people in their late twenties and early thirties. “The timing is pretty good for a recession,” says Pam Perlich of the University of Utah.

The “cultural thing”, as businessmen from out of state delicately refer to Mormonism, helps in other ways. Utah’s almost universal conservatism makes for stable, consensual politics. It took the state legislature just two days last month to plug a $272m hole in the budget. By contrast, California’s budget was 85 days late. Nevada’s politicians are preparing for a nasty fiscal fight next year.

Mormons do not come to work nursing hangovers, and they are inclined to stay put in the promised land rather than pursue better-paying jobs elsewhere. Matthew Donthnier, who is hiring for a new Procter & Gamble plant, has only one complaint about the local workforce: it can be a little difficult to persuade people to toil on Sundays. [Emphasis added]

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed the same things among my non-member neighbors. They come here because of the emphasis on families. They enjoy extra work hours on Sundays. And even when complaining, they lack the spit and vinegar I've heard in other states. Overall, I think this is Utah culture, not specifically Mormonism.


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