At EDCUtah, we focus on driving economic growth by helping established and growing firms make big expansions.
People are often surprised to learn about the importance of these big firms in a market for the innovation economy (see this Harvard Business Review Article on large firm R and D https://hbr.org/2018/04/theres-no-good-alternative-to-investing-in-rd). In addition to driving innovation, established firm expansion has a positive effect on the economy at-large and on our community in a multitude of ways.
I had the pleasure of addressing Goldman Sachs’s Utah employees this week at an all-employee town-hall. In preparing my remarks, I looked back on “Utah Since Goldman Sachs.” I wanted to see how our market has changed over the last decade in the time since Goldman Sachs’s growth in Utah really took off.
After doing this research, I wanted to share a few “gee whiz” stats for your consumption:
- In the last 5 years, Financial Services employment has gone up 22%, compared to 16% statewide in all industries
- Financial Services GDP has increased in the state 76% over the last 5 years, compared to 26% statewide
- Goldman Sachs is now the largest private, for-profit employer in Salt Lake City and forecasts the creation of several hundred new jobs in Utah before the end of the year
Since Goldman Sachs’s announced expansions in Utah there have been a number of quality of life factors that have changed and improved:
- The Gorge S. And Delores Dore Eccles Theater was completed
- The Vivint Smarthome Arena was remodeled
- The Capital Theater and Ballet West were expanded
- New Multi-Family Housing Permits increased from 850 in 2012 to 2,800 in 2017
Can we say that Goldman Sachs “caused” these shifts in our market? Hard to say. There are obviously a number of factors that led to many of the Quality of Life enhancements, including civic, philanthropic, business, and political leadership and engagement. However, we know with certainty that Goldman had a direct role in boosting the employment and GDP numbers you see above. I would also posit that the presence of several thousand well-compensated, young, diverse, and dynamic employees in downtown Salt Lake City had more than a marginal impact on the bankability of our Quality of Life asset improvement and the shift towards alternative housing options.
So there you have it - some hard stats and some assumptions. Regardless of your view on causation, I think we can all agree that no matter how we interpret the data, there are some projects that have a transformative impact on a community. Thankfully Goldman Sachs in Utah is one of those projects that has and will continue to have a profound impact on our state.