This legislative year marks the second session with the COVID-19 pandemic casting a shadow over our state. The top agenda item of fighting the pandemic has evolved into a theme reaching into a wide variety of issues instead of being the central one. Growth has returned to our economy, and unemployment remains low, with labor force participation on the rise.
Defeating the pandemic is an ongoing challenge, but we are making progress through vaccination, natural immunity and public health best practices. The battle against the coronavirus has also forced us to take stock of new priorities around mental health, workforce development and affordable housing as a key to talent recruitment.
While the federal response injected unprecedented capital into the system, the passage of the historic infrastructure bill will help us remake Utah’s transportation network of roads, bridges and EV stations. This will provide jobs to an already strained workforce pool and increase wages for middle class Utahns. Energy development and innovation across our state will also help us get ahead of the renewables curve.
Our capacity for innovation in energy, climate, technology and life sciences will continue to grow. Research and development in these areas will help strengthen our magnet for talent and keep the focus on maintaining our enviable business climate. This, in turn, will bring a more diverse workforce to our state and help breed inclusion into the fabric of business.
Continuing to maintain our outdoor beauty through investment and maintenance, connected to a growing network of innovation industries, and incorporating rural Utahns into the picture will strengthen our foundation.
Through our growing economy and Governor Cox’s focus on addressing healthcare costs, in total Utah is poised to develop a new economic geography for other states to model. This is only possible because we came together and worked our way through difficult times. We continue to express our gratitude for a legislature that is wise and works well with numerous stakeholders.
We are grateful to stand united for the good of our community with businesses, employees and volunteers who have shaped our emerging post-pandemic economic landscape.