In 2021 the Mountainland Economic Development District (MEDD) prepared a COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan to assess the impact of the pandemic on regional economic health and evaluate strategies for mitigation, recovery, and long-term growth.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Mountainland region was less severe than for the State of Utah and the United States overall. The region saw a rapid rise in unemployment in the first months of the pandemic as the economy adjusted, but the region recovered jobs quickly. The resiliency of the Mountainland region's economy is likely due to overall industry diversification across the region, high concentrations of industries that continued to grow during the pandemic, and an overall attractive and supportive business climate.
But hidden behind low unemployment rates and increased retail spending are residents who dropped permanently out of the workforce, industries shuttered by months of devastating loss, and businesses still struggling to operate in the new normal. MEDD is committed to assisting the leaders and policymakers who are working to support these impacted groups. The vision for this economic recovery and resilience plan is simple: a Mountainland region united in strengthening the economic wellbeing of its residents, businesses, and communities.
Although many industries were hit hard by the pandemic, employment in the Mountainland region has rebounded quickly. By March of 2021 unemployment in the three counties was 2.5%, compared to a national average of 6.2%.
While overall job growth has decreased dramatically — falling by 1.0% in Utah and 6.8% nationally — the Mountainland regional has been able to create new jobs despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The labor force across the country has contracted as a result of the pandemic, shrinking by 1.3% nationally. The Mountainland region, by contrast, was able to grow its labor force by 1.8%. Despite positive growth, much work remains to be done in order to meet labor demands and fully recover.