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The manufacturing industry is growing in Utah

Steel worker on CNC plasma cutter machine. Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY – Manufacturing has been shrinking in other states across the US, but not in Utah. 

A new report from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Institute says the industry grew 0.8% a year every year from 2008-2018. 

Ryan Mecham with the Utah Manufacturers Association understands why people are surprised by the growth of the industry, which is now the state’s fifth-largest. 

“The percentage of manufacturing here in relation to manufacturing overall in the U.S. has increased. So, there’s a lot more manufacturing here than people really, I think, are aware of,” Mecham said. 

Why is manufacturing growing in Utah? 

One reason is pay. The report found that the average manufacturing salary is $72,565 a year, which is 38.6% higher than the state average. 

The industry has also been able to attract minorities, with 1/3 of all workers non-white or Hispanic. 

Mecham says the industry has also been successful in attracting college grads to the engineering and logistics side of the business, two increasingly important areas. 

“There’s many, many opportunities for engineers or automation specialists. They’re in high demand. There’s a place for both college-educated and non-college-educated workforce [members] to go and have success,” Mecham said. 

Although many of the jobs are along the Wasatch Front, Mecham says a significant percentage of the workforce in Box Elder, Cache, and Juab counties are employed in manufacturing. 

Another reason Mecham believes Utah’s manufacturing industry is growing is because companies like the workforce in the state. 

However, COVID-19 is a speed bump on the way to growth. 

Mecham says his organization is trying to help companies cope and keep their buildings safe from the virus, which can be tricky when people work close together. 

Read the entire report from the Kem C. Gardner Institute here: