Utah’s Economic Forecast
Southern Utah businesses still bullish on 2019 economy
David DeMille, St. George Spectrum & Daily News
Published 5:05 p.m. MT Jan. 10, 2019
The St. George area economy is still speeding full speed ahead, but for the first time in a long time, some of the business leaders steering the ship are starting to worry about the murky waters in the distance.
On Thursday, about 1,000 business people from St. George and neighboring areas gathered at the Dixie Convention Center for the annual economic summit hosted by the St. George Area Economic Development office.
Like they do every year, participants celebrated the area’s economic accomplishments of the previous 12 months, recounting some of the larger developments taking place and rehashing the biggest success stories.
Washington County saw its population grow by an estimated 3.3 percent in 2018, according to recent estimates from the University of Utah, helping to drive a year-over-year expansion of the job market and driving unemployment below 4 percent.
A series of major new projects were either completed or broke ground, from a $300 million expansion of Dixie Regional Medical Center to massive multi-story building projects in downtown St. George and on the campus of Dixie State University.
The booming tourism industry was taking advantage of Zion National Parks and the area’s other outdoor attractions, spurring the permitting and construction of a dozen different hotel and motel projects. State and local governments were investing in new
roads and new utilities. The countywide gross domestic product had jumped by more than 5 percent over the previous year, outpacing state and national norms.
“The data is all very strong. The coincident indicators are all very strong,” said Lecia Langston, a senior economist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.