JOBS & ECONOMY Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were created with the expert advice of the Jobs and Economy Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s economy in 2050. These five scenarios differed in what choices were made over the next 35 years regarding other topic areas of Your Utah, Your Future, including:

  • Education levels
  • Air quality
  • Transportation and housing costs
  • Energy costs
  • Recreation

The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future survey in spring 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Seagull, Quaking Aspen, and Sego Lily (the state fossil, fish, bird, tree, and flower):

ALLOSAURUS SCENARIO

ScenarioSummary AL Jobs2

Though Utah’s economy is strong and diverse now, by 2050 our economy is no longer competitive with other states and regions. The results of our decisions on a variety of issues weaken our ability to attract and retain businesses and employees:

  • Educational performance falls behind other states and countries. 43% of Utahns have a degree or certificate beyond high school.
  • Air quality declines as we grow and does not meet health standards.
  • Transportation distances are longer for people, goods, and services.
  • Housing is less affordable, and household transportation costs are higher.
  • Recreational facilities are crowded, adversely affecting both residents and tourists.
  • Agriculture declines as farmland and water are sold off.

However, the following increase our ability to attract and retain businesses and employees:

  • Energy costs remain low.
  • Public lands produce more economic benefits.

Results:

  • Economy is weak.
  • Average incomes are low.
  • Tax revenues are low and may not meet increased demand for services or other state needs.
  • Young Utahns cannot find good jobs and must leave.
  • Poverty, including intergenerational poverty, increases, as does demand for public assistance.

BONNEVILLE TROUT SCENARIO

ScenarioSummary BT Jobs2

Though Utah’s economy is strong and diverse now, by 2050 our economy is less competitive with other states and regions. The results of our decisions on a variety of issues somewhat weaken our ability to attract and retain businesses and employees:

  • Educational performance improves in other states and countries but not here. 47% of Utahns have a degree or certificate beyond high school.
  • Air quality declines as we grow and does not meet health standards.
  • Transportation distances are longer for people, goods, and services.
  • Housing is somewhat less affordable, and household transportation costs are high.
  • Recreational facilities are crowded, adversely affecting both residents and tourists.
  • Agriculture declines somewhat as farmland is sold off.
  • Public lands do not produce more economic benefits than today.

However, the following increases our ability to attract and retain businesses and employees:

  • Energy costs remain low.

Results:

  • Economy is somewhat weak.
  • Average incomes are somewhat low.
  • Tax revenues are somewhat low and may not meet increased demand for services or other state needs.
  • Some young Utahns cannot find good jobs and must leave.
  • Poverty, including intergenerational poverty, slightly decreases, as does demand for public assistance.

SEAGULL SCENARIO

ScenarioSummary S Jobs2

By 2050, Utah’s economy is strong and diverse, and we remain competitive with other states and regions. The results of our decisions on a variety of issues keep the state attractive to businesses and employees:

  • Educational performance improves. 53% of Utahns have a degree or certificate beyond high school.
  • Air quality improves and barely meets health standards.
  • Housing costs remain generally affordable.
  • Recreational facilities meet the growing demand of residents.
  • Agricultural production is similar to today but provides more local foods.
  • Energy costs remain low.
  • Public lands produce more economic benefits.

However, the following weaken our ability to attract and retain businesses and employees:

  • Transportation distances are longer for people, goods, and services.
  • Household transportation costs are somewhat high.

Results:

  • Economy is strong.
  • Average incomes are moderate.
  • Tax revenues are moderate.
  • Young Utahns can generally find good jobs.
  • Poverty, including intergenerational poverty, decreases, as does demand for public assistance.

QUAKING ASPEN SCENARIO

ScenarioSummary QA Jobs2

By 2050, Utah’s economy is strong and diverse, and we become an international economic powerhouse. We leverage our unique language skills to become more connected with the world, and we welcome the world to Utah. The results of our decisions on a variety of issues make the state very attractive to businesses and employees:

  • Educational performance improves significantly. 66% of Utahns have a degree or certificate beyond high school.
  • Air quality significantly improves and is significantly cleaner than health standards.
  • Transportation distances remain reasonable for people, goods, and services; Utah is a transportation hub, with high-speed trains that connect us to other western cities and more international flights.
  • Housing and household transportation costs remain affordable.
  • Recreational facilities meet the growing demand of residents, and tourism booms.
  • Agriculture becomes a stronger industry and provides more local foods.
  • Energy costs are moderate.
  • Public lands produce more economic benefits.

Results:

  • Economy is very strong.
  • Average incomes are high.
  • Tax revenues are high.
  • Young Utahns can generally find a broad range of high-quality jobs.
  • Poverty, including intergenerational poverty, significantly decreases, as does demand for public assistance.

SEGO LILY SCENARIO

ScenarioSummary SL Jobs2

By 2050, Utah’s economy is strong and diverse, and we remain competitive with other states and regions. The results of our decisions on a variety of issues keep the state attractive to businesses and employees:

  • Educational performance improves significantly. 66% of Utahns have a degree or certificate beyond high school.
  • Air quality significantly improves and is significantly cleaner than health standards.
  • Transportation distances remain reasonable for people, goods, and services.
  • Housing and household transportation costs remain affordable.
  • Recreational facilities meet the growing demand of residents.
  • Agricultural production is similar to today but provides more local foods.

However, the following weaken our ability to attract and retain businesses and employees:

  • Energy costs are high.
  • Public lands produce fewer economic benefits; however, an increase in wilderness draws some businesses and employees.
  • Lack of water decreases green landscaping in urban areas and limits growth in southwest Utah.

Results:

  • Economy is strong.
  • Average incomes are moderate.
  • Tax revenues are moderate.
  • Young Utahns can generally find good jobs.
  • Poverty, including intergenerational poverty, decreases, as does demand for public assistance.