Overall, Utah's economy is larger and more prosperous because of globalization.
That's according to new research from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, which also notes that Utah's foreign born, refugee resettlement, international travel, and international students reinforce the positive economic impacts of globalization on the state economy.
Jim Wood, Ivory-Boyer senior fellow at the Gardner Institute and author of the study, says that while some people may portray free trade and open borders as threatening, the data suggests otherwise. Such a negative view is not warranted for Utah. "Overall, the state economy has seen positive effects from globalization," he adds.
The study is the inaugural edition of the Gardner Business Review, which shares applied economic analysis by the David Eccles School of Business. Data from the report was shared with attendees during Salt Lake County's "Metro Solutions: A Framework for regional growth, prosperity, and inclusion" event on June 8, which was convened with participation by the Brookings Institution.
According to the study, Utah has been largely shielded from the economic shocks of free trade, due largely to the state's low concentration of import-vulnerable manufacturing jobs. Other data shows that Utah's 2015 international goods exports (non-gold) supported $3.5 billion in earnings and 84,367 jobs and added $6.7 billion to Utah's gross domestic product.
Further, immigration is a vital source of labor supply for Utah employers. The state has nearly 172,200 foreign-born workers making up 12.5 percent of the state's workforce.
Marek Gootman, fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives at the Brookings Institution, says the report reaffirms the need for global engagement to generate sustained economic growth, and reveals many assets to build on. "The report reinforces the value of new efforts by business, government and civic leaders to strengthen the international economic connections and competitiveness of Utah and its regions," he adds.