St. George ranks top in country for job growth

Overlooking the City of St. George, St. George, Utah April 4, 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George ranks at the top of U.S. cities for job growth over the last five years, according to an online financial magazine.

24/7 Wall St. examined the job growth in 20 cities across the country between May 2014 and May 2019. During this time, St. George’s workforce grew 25.7%. This translated to an additional 15,000 jobs as mid-2019 saw over 74,000 people employed in Washington County versus the mid-2014’s figure of 59,000 residents employed.

The state continued to see job growth in June and July, according the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

While there has been employment gain across the board, a majority of those gains, according to 24/7 Wall St., have occurred in the trade, transportation and utility industries.

Unemployment in St. George was reported at around 2.9% while the national average was at 3.4%. Job growth across the nation over the last five years has risen by 7.3% with 224,000 jobs being added in June – 100,000 more than economists originally anticipated.

Employment in the cities 24/7 Wall St. examined rose between 16% and 25%, and noted those cities were entirely in the Southern and Western United States.

While St. George made the top of the list, it was followed by Bend-Redmond, Oregon; Reno, Nevada; the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin area of Tennessee; and Provo, Utah.

Downtown St. George, Utah, July 21, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Among the factors listed for the rise in jobs was the city’s own rising population. Earlier this year the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the St. George metro area as the third-fastest-growing city in the country.

Utah itself has been touted as a national leader in terms of job and economic growth over the years and is also considered to have a very business-friendly environment.

In Southern Utah, it has been previously noted by a senior state economist that companies have been attracted to Washington County because the wages have been below the national average.

Elected officials in St. George are working to counter this by providing tax incentives to companies that provide better wages and benefits over the county norm.

According the U.S. Census Bureau, the St. George area’s median household income is $54,022.

There is also an interconnected effort between local governments, educational institutions and employers to create a skilled workforce, particularly in technical and tech-based fields.

A focal point of this effort is Tech Ridge in St. George where Dixie Technical College is located. Dixie Tech, as the school is otherwise known, is the focal point of the Tech Ridge technology-based business park city officials anticipate will feature homegrown tech companies and offer higher-paying jobs.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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