February 24, 2012 News Keeps Getting Better From Our Economic “Stoplights”
Even though the array of stop light colors are the same, there were marked improvements in several economic indicators for Utah in February. First, based on revised numbers, Utah wages, particularly the average wage paid for each job improved about 0.8%, such that wages are now running in excess of 6% instead of 5%. This alone bumps up sales taxes by almost 1%. Second, construction jobs are now increasing at a 2.5% clip, better than the slight declines observed last month.
Third, the U.S. consumer sentiment index improved 5 points to 75, now back to where it was before the August plunge (due to the U.S. debt ceiling crisis). This means consumers are feeling better about jobs and their financial prospects. Finally, the three month average growth in sales taxes improved from 7.7% over the prior year to 11.4% growth. We don’t expect continued double-digit growth here, but our models indicate that 8% growth in 2012 is possible.