By Joey Ferguson
The Salt Lake Capital building. (Dougtone via Flickr)[/caption]
SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation named Utah the third best state in the country for science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs and the best-performing state in the Enterprising States report released April 2013.
The state placed within the top 10 of 18 different categories, including high-tech share of all businesses, business birth rate and small business lending.
“Retention and growth of a highly skilled talent pool is a crucial factor in sustaining Utah as a high-tech center,” the Foundation said in its report. “Utah is increasingly becoming one of the nation’s high-tech centers.”
Utah ranked second in both short- and long-term growth, trailing behind North Dakota.
The job growth stems from the states technology sector, which hires at twice the rate of companies outside of the industry, according to the report.
The group also cites Utah’s Engineering Initiative, a $2.5 million fund used to increase the supply of engineering graduates in the state, for the healthy job growth.
Utah Science, Technology and Research, or USTAR, also received $6 million to help transition research and innovations from the state’s universities into the private sector.
But along with the state’s victories came a few shortcomings.
Though jobs are booming in the state, Utah ranked 30th in the country for per capita income growth and 37th in job placement efficiency.
Overall, however, the state ranks in the top 10 in all five policy related rankings on the Chamber’s report.
The five areas are overall performance, exports, innovation and entrepreneurship, business climate, talent pipeline and infrastructure.
Utah ranks 13th in the country for both broadband speed and provider availability.
“Access to high-speed data connections helps support high-tech industry in the Silicon Slopes,” the Foundation said in its report.
Google recently announced it will be adding fiber connectivity to every home in Provo, which is a hub for many tech companies in the state.
The internet giant will provide free basic internet to every home in the city and will have plans that offer gigabit speeds.
“Economic development is kind of a given,” said Provo Mayor John Curtis in an interview. “This spurs so much creativity and energy. [Google Fiber] ignites a community.”