Census: Utah retained nation’s smallest wealth gap last year


Jamie Prescott, of West Valley City, searches for jobs at the Department of Workforce Services in Taylorsville on Wednesday, Sept. 16 2020.

Jamie Prescott, of West Valley City, searches for jobs at the Department of Workforce Services in Taylorsville on Wednesday, Sept. 16 2020. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

State demographer and economist say Utah likely to hold title of most even income distribution

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah claimed the nation’s smallest wealth gap again last year and a median household income among the highest in the West, show new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The 2019 figures released late Wednesday don’t capture the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic as about 54,000 in the state file ongoing jobless claims and still others are back at work only part time. But they are a baseline for measuring fallout from COVID-19.

“This is like a glimpse into the world that we left behind,” said Pamela Perlich, director of demographic research at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Institute. But Perlich doesn’t expect Utah to give up its longtime spot as most even in terms of income. She said the state’s strong economy will help it weather the effects of the virus.

Adrian Anderson, 42, is similarly optimistic. The Layton father of three lost his job as an estimator with a plastics manufacturing company in April after corporate orders dried up.

Since then, he’s applied and interviewed for positions like his old one, plus a range of others, including some for about half his former salary. He wonders whether he’ll be able to match his former income whenever he returns to work.

“I need to put food on the table,” Anderson said. “It’s one of those things that keeps me up at night.”

The pressure is building as Anderson and his wife dip into savings to cover their mortgage and a deadline approaches: His unemployment benefits are set to expire …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

      

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