Another red flag: The to-be-sure paragraph stuffed toward the bottom:
Utah isn’t out of the woods. Despite its job growth, the state’s unemployment rate in October rose to a 25-year high of 7.6%, up from 6.7% a year ago, according to the BLS. Utah Chief Economist Juliette Tennert attributed the rise to an economic upturn that has prompted long-term unemployed workers who gave up looking for jobs to get back into the hunt, which has made the jobless rate go up. Utah’s unemployment rate remains below the national average of 9.6% in October.
Maybe Tennert is right. But let’s look at the BLS data ourselves. Last October, Utah had 1.188 million workers on nonfarm payrolls. This October it had 1.195 million. In other words, it’s added 7,000 jobs in the last year. That’s a 0.6 percent increase, not much for a population growing as quickly as Utah’s. Next-door neighbor Wyoming saw a 1.1 percent increase, Arizona was up 1 percent. New Mexico tied at 0.6 percent.
Nor does the Journal bother to mention that this business haven and economic star’s wages rose just 0.3 percent over the past year while the nation averaged a 0.8 percent gain, according to the latest stats from the first quarter.
In other words, there’s not much of a story there to begin with, much less a “corporate-welfare rocks!” one.
But it appears the flacks at the Utah Economic Development office have been busy little beavers lately. Two weeks before the Journal’s story, Newsweek dropped a piece touting “Utah as the new economic Zion.” At least the Journal’s piece didn’t include this jaw-dropping (and boneheaded) elitism:
Why Utah? Founded by Mormon pioneers, the state, which has been called “a quasi theocracy” by the editor of its largest newspaper, is overwhelmingly white (93 percent) and Mormon (60 percent). Those demographics make for a socially conservative mind meld—no gay marriage, mixed acceptance of women in the workplace—that might seem hostile to the idea-swapping associated with a go-go economy. Mix in a thin coffee-and-booze culture, and you might expect Utah’s economy to be listless as well.
Yeah, because no coffee, no booze and lots of social conservatives = listless economies. For that paragraph, Newsweek ought to send the responsible editors and reporters in wagons to create its new Provo bureau.
Newsweek also touts the Adobe move, but doesn’t bother to tell its readers that it was lured by $40 million of taxpayer’s money.
At a time of budget deficits and high unemployment, that’s inexcusable.