Considering its size, the Ogden region outperforms many other metro areas in its support for advanced industry.
In an article
published by the Brookings Institution on June 8, the Ogden-Clearfield area was identified as the 14th-best region in the country for advanced industry. This ranking beat out Salt Lake City, which was ranked 15th, and is on par with the Provo-Orem region, which was ranked 12th. Other, higher-ranked regions all boasted larger populations. So, considering its size, the Ogden region’s support for advanced industry is on par with places like Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose, Calif.
The Brookings Institute identified “advanced industry” as those which are “characterized by their deep engagement with research and development (R&D) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers.” But with its smaller, highly-educated populace and proximity to world-class outdoor recreation, Ogden offers what many other areas cannot.
“We have all kinds of recreation infrastructure in place, including natural resources that you just can’t find anywhere else,” said Terrence Bride, Division Manager for Ogden City’s Business Development Division. Ogden is located near the ski resort which hosted of the 2002 Winter Olympics downhill skiing event, has extensive biking trails, and is near several excellent boating areas. The Brookings Institution’s full report can be found here
, published June 12 article in Forbes Magazine, ranked the Ogden-Clearfield area as the 7th-best medium-sized metro area for job growth. This article cited Ogden’s proximity to Salt Lake City as one factor in its economic growth, calling Ogden one of the “slipstream economies” that prospers in the wake of a larger metro area. Those more familiar with the area, however, know that Ogden has profited more from its proximity to Hill Air Force Base than to the State’s capitol.
The Forbes article also credited Ogden’s strong growth to the construction, manufacturing, and professional services sectors of the economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ogden increased employment in the professional and business services sector by approximately 8,000 more employees between April of 2010 and April of 2015 for an increase of 38 percent. In construction, 4,100 new jobs were created in that same time period, an increase of 33 percent. And, in manufacturing, another 4,100 jobs were added for an increase of 15 percent.
“From an industry perspective, they are looking for relatively young age, a relatively high natural increase in population, and a relatively high rate of immigration,” Bride said. The Ogden area, he said, enjoys “great tech training for advanced materials manufacturing, and a robust university engineering output; you can’t replicate that.”
Bride said that Ogden’s own Weber State University contributes to this output, in addition to nearby Utah State University, the University of Utah, and Brigham Young University.
Overall, Ogden’s total non-farm employment numbers increased by 29,100 in that same time period, which translates to a 13.8-percent increase since April of 2010. By comparison, the BLS data show the total of number of non-farm jobs in the U.S. grew 8.7 percent during the same time period.
“We have the third youngest population in the United States here in Utah,” Bride said. “We also have a rapidly growing population from natural increase and immigration.”
The Forbes article said Ogden’s favorable ranking results largely from a pattern of widespread economic growth, which has seen increases in a diversity of sectors. The Ogden region now has 8,200 more people working in the goods producing sector since April of 2010, an increase of 21 percent. In the private service providing sector, the increase is of 20,800 more people or 17 percent. Also, in education and health services, Ogden has added 4,700 more jobs for an increase of 18 percent.