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Defense industry supported 109,000 Utah jobs, research shows

First Published      Last Updated May 04 2017 07:51 pm

Proposals to increase spending could mean additional money and jobs.

The defense industry continues to play a significant role in Utah's economy.

Research released Thursday by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute showed the defense industry directly and indirectly supported 109,000 jobs, almost 6 percent of the state total. The $9.2 billion in economic activity it generated represented 6.2 percent of Utah's gross domestic product, said Juliette Tennert, institute director of economic and public policy research.

"Utah's defense industry," she noted, has an "impact in every county in the state. With the Trump Administration's recent proposals to increase defense spending, this could mean additional money and jobs for Utahns."

The Gardner Institute study was commissioned by the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Utah Defense Alliance, an organization of government agencies and private companies that support defense and aerospace-related industries.




Tennert said her institute's analysis examined current operations of Hill Air Force Base, Dugway Proving Ground, Tooele Army Depot, the Utah National Guard, reserve, recruiting, ROTC, expenditures for veterans and other grants from the federal departments of defense and veterans affairs. Defense and VA spending in 2015, the last year for which figures were available, amounted to $1.8 billion, she noted.

Although there are no plans right now to close Hill Air Force Base, the Gardner Institute study evaluated the impact that would have on Utah's economy.

Since the Davis County base accounts for almost half of the defense industry's economic impact in Utah, Tennert calculated that a hypothetical closure in 2022 would cost the state 35,200 of Hill's 47,000 jobs and $3.8 billion of the $4.5 billion it contributes annually to Utah's GDP.

mikeg@sltrib.com

 

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