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Utah earns top rank for economy

The International Labour Organization expects steady growth ahead despite a slowing global economy, and Utah is leading the nation in WalletHub’s in-depth analysis of 2016’s States with the Best & Worst Economies.

Utah’s economic overall rank was first among the nation’s 50 states, according to WalletHub’s study, written by Richie Bernardo, personal finance writer. Though California has blossomed into the seventh largest economy in the world, boasting a GDP of $2.3 trillion, which was comparable to Brazil’s $2.2 trillion, in 2014, Utah outpaced the larger state in economic health and activity.

Utah also ranked first in the percentage of fast-growing firms, and nonfarm payrolls change. It landed in the top 10 in business startup activity, influx of “knowledge workers” to the state, overall GDP growth and percentage of jobs in high-tech industries. Known for its low cost of living, the state ranked ninth in in its unemployment rate, 14th in annual median household income and 15th in the number of exports per capita.

Utah awarded 'Gold Shovel' by Area Development Magazine

Utah has been awarded the “Gold Shovel” for significant job creation, infrastructure improvement and for leading the nation in fostering a world-class business environment. Area Development considered new companies attracted to the state in 2015, as well as the environment for homegrown Utah companies to invest locally and expand.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the efforts to attract companies to Utah and promote the expansion of companies that have always called the beehive state home,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) in a press release.

Area Development awards gold or silver shovels to states that have the highest weighted scores in amount of high-value jobs added per capita, amount invested by companies, number of new facilities and industry diversity. Utah was among six states awarded.

“The states and communities receiving 2016 Shovel Awards not only have the right combination of factors to attract and retain business,” said Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development, in a press release. “They also display a pro-business attitude and marketing savvy. They deserve to be recognized for winning high-impact economic development projects.”

HUD grant awarded to ensure home safety

To protect children and families from the hazards of lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $46.5 million in grants to 15 local and state governments.

Utah earned more than $3 million through the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant funds and Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. Salt Lake County will address lead hazards in 220 housing units, providing safer homes for low and very low-income families with children and 130 homes safe from home based environmental hazards.

“As the leader in lead paint hazard control, HUD’s grant awards are one of our strongest efforts to prevent lead poisoning among children,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “These awards will help clean up lead paint hazards in thousands of low-income homes across the nation, eliminating the sources of permanent health and behavioral problems that lead poisoning brings.”

DigiCert honored for leadership in online security

DigiCert, a Lehi-based global certificate authority and provider of trusted identity and authentication services, has been named to the 2016 Online Trust Alliance (OTA) Honor Roll, marking the fifth consecutive year the company has been recognized for its leadership in online security and privacy.

Each year, the Honor Roll audits the top online retailers, FDIC banks, consumer services, media/news outlets and U.S. federal government sites to determine adoption of online security and privacy best practices.

“OTA commends DigiCert not only for achieving the Honor Roll for the fifth consecutive year, but more importantly, its commitment to collaboration in both the public and private sector,” said Craig Spiezle, Online Trust Alliance CEO and executive director in a press release. “Through DigiCert’s support of OTA and active participation in industry working groups, the company continues to help re-define site security and responsible privacy practices.”

Karissa Neely reports on Business & Community events, and can be reached at (801) 344-2537 or kneely@heraldextra.com. Follow her on Twitter: @DHKarissaNeely