December 1, 2012

Cover Story

Rocky Recovery

Naughty boys and girls in Utah may not find lumps of coal in their stockin...Read More

Featured Articles

Joel Peterson: The Secret to Great Leadership

Jeanette Haren: A Passion for Education



Around Utah
Around Utah

Legal Briefs
Profits Interest

Money Talk
An Alarming Trend

Economic Insight
A Time of Giving

Lessons Learned
The Right Consistency

Smart Strategy

Don’t Peeve the VC

Business Trends
On the Map

Living Well
Off the Beaten Slope

Editor's Note
Is Your Company Headed Toward an Employee Shakeup?

From the Get-Go

Best Companies to Work For

Reader's Choice
The Goods at Sweet Cake Bake Shop

Innovative and Invisible

Industry Outlook


Rocky Recovery

The Dichotomy of Utah’s Economic Outlook

Gaylen Webb

December 1, 2012

Tremonton, in Box Elder County, lost 630 jobs in 2008 when Lay-Z-Boy moved its manufacturing to Mexico. The county continues to bleed jobs through Alliant Techsystems’ (ATK) past and upcoming layoffs. Nonfarm employment in the county is down 4.3 percent year over year. Nonetheless, the economic outlook is on the upswing, according to Paul Larsen, Brigham City’s economic development director.

“It was a dismal environment when ATK was laying people off,” he says. “We had 9.8 percent unemployment. It has come down to 5.8 percent, unofficially, and I think there is a little more optimism than there was a few years ago.”

A lot of the new optimism has to do with key economic events that are taking shape in the county. For one, the LDS Church’s Brigham City Temple is complete, which has brought an increased amount of economic activity downtown.    

Further, Mitch Zundel, economic development director for Box Elder County, says he is seeing increased interest from entrepreneurs looking to start businesses and from existing businesses that are talking about expansions.

For example, West Liberty Foods recently announced that it would expand its operations in the county. That’s actually the third expansion at the plant since 2007; however, Larsen and Zundel say they haven’t heard of any job increases along with the company’s latest expansion plans–not yet, anyway. Zundel and Larsen expect the expansion will increase jobs eventually.

Meanwhile, a poultry concern is in the process of finalizing the financing for a poultry operation in the county. Larsen says the company would make a $307 million capital investment by building a hatchery, granary and growout houses in the unincorporated county, and a processing plant within Brigham City. Initial employment would be about 591 workers, but the number of jobs could increase to more than 1,000. There’s also talk of a gold mining operation starting up on the northwest side of the county.

Using $100,000 in grant money from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and other state and local agencies and businesses, Brigham City hired BetterCity, an economic development consulting firm led by former Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey, to do an industry cluster analysis to determine which industries are most ripe for growth. The analysis is focusing on the aerospace and composites, structural steel, agricultural and shooting sports industries.

“We are trying to go at our economic development from all directions: recruitment, expansion of existing businesses and helping entrepreneurs to get new businesses started,” says Larsen. 

Page 123
Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Fast 50 Utah Business Event
Aug 27, 2015
The top 50 companies will be selected based on a combination of revenue growth and revenue genera...
Job Summit - POSTPONED UNTIL FALL 2015 Utah Business Event
Sep 24, 2015
NOTE: The date listed below is not secured. We will update as the event gets closer. Thank you ...
Community Events View All
Real Pirates
Aug 1, 2015
Batten Down the Hatches….the Pirates are Here! Listen up, you salty sea dogs! Real Pirates is...
Secrets to Financing Your Business
Aug 4, 2015
Join us for a complimentary educational presentation SECRETS TO FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS Sponsor...  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
* Event Description: