In general, among almost every major metric, Utah continues to experience strong growth.
This past December, the Kern C. Gardner Policy Institute, David Eccles School of Business University of Utah released their State and County Population Estimates for Utah: 2018. Incredibly, statewide, Utah saw a 14.6 percent gain in population, a total of 402,762 people since the 2010 Census.
Although natural increase and net migration did decelerate in 2018, Utah still experienced significant population growth by adding 52,664 people; roughly the equivalent of adding a city the size of Logan.
According to multiple articles in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah economy is continuing to expand, leading the nation in the percentage of job growth. Between July 2017 and July 2018, Utah led the nation in job growth by 3.5%, a total of 51,100 jobs. Of note, Utah's unemployment rate of 3.1% remains lower than the national rate of 3.9%. Thanks to robust economic conditions, Utah continues to benefit.
TRENDS AND SHIFTS
After several years of gloomy headlines lamenting retailer closures, the retail market performed well in 2018, with strong key indicators: new lease activity and lease rates both experienced an uptick, and vacancy rates and new construction remained similar to year-end 2017.
In 2017, 19 U.S. retailers filed for bankruptcy. Comparatively, as of mid-December 2018, 16 U.S. retailers had filed for bankruptcy or announced liquidations. A few notable retailers that did so include: Toys "R" Us, Sears, Mattress Firm, David's Bridal, National Stores, Brookstone, The Walking Company, Nine West, and Claire's.
Many companies filing for bankruptcy cite shifts in consumer purchasing preferences and habits as the root cause for financial troubles. Other reasons may Include years of overly aggressive new store openings and expansions, coupled with the previously noted shift in consumer shopping.
To further understand the retailer bankruptcy issue, it's also worth noting that of the 16 U.S. retailers that filed for bankruptcy in 2018, all but one of those retailers filed for Chapter 11 protection. The lone retailer filing for Chapter 7 was Toys "R" Us.
Despite the number of retailers filing for bankruptcy in 2018, some are defying the store demise apocalypse.
Discount stores are rapidly building new locations. Early In 2018 Dollar General announced that it planned to open 900 new stores and to remodel 1,000 existing stores. Looking...