Despite talk of a slowdown, local business owners remain optimistic

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – What can we expect from our local economy in 2019? Will it continue to flourish, or is a correction due?

Local experts are keeping an eye on some red flags at the national level, but they are optimistic Utah’s economy will stay on track in the coming year.

At the Downtown Marriott, the Salt Lake Chamber is bringing together local leaders, policy experts, business owners and more for the Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit.

Steve Neeleman, the founder of Health Equity in Draper is one of them.

His company helps about 4 million families manage the cost of healthcare and save for retirement.

He says business is booming, growing at about 20 percent a year.

“We’ve had a great business. We’ve grown fast, so fast we’ve looked around the state to look to where to hire people. We went down to Price, Utah and hired about 100 people in the last couple years,” said Neeleman.

He is one of many business owners in Utah enjoying big success, but he also knows the natural flow of the economy brings ups and downs.

And, right now there are some signs to keep an eye on.

“Interest rates are really driving a lot, obviously some of the talk around trade, international trade, we are a trading state as most people know. But, if the national economy does slow down than that does give us some pause,” said Theresa Foxley, President/CEO of Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

Foxley expects a strong 2019 for our state barring any major national or international issues.

She says if that happens we are positioned to weather the storm.

“We do have some budget surplus, we have a significant amount of money in the Rainy Day Fund,” she said.

Neeleman says preparation is also the key on the business end.

In 2008, his company had to lay off one person. He never wants to do that again.

“We’re prepared. We’ve been very thoughtful with the way we’ve managed the company, so even if we do go into recession, we think that our business will continue to do well,” he said.

Neeleman’s biggest concern for 2019 isn’t the market, but the workforce, having enough skilled workers to choose from to meet the demands of his growing business.

ABC4 News hears that a lot from Utah business owners. Especially, in the high tech industry.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...