CACHE COUNTY – During a whirlwind tour here Monday, Gov. Spencer Cox described the Cache Valley area as Utah’s best-kept economic secret.
“Everyone thinks their town is the engine of Utah’s economy,” Cox told a packed audience at a Cache Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Bridgerland Technical College. “Salt Lake City certainly thinks so. Washington County also thinks that it is the star of the state.
“But none of them have any idea what’s happening in Cache County … When it comes to unemployment numbers, when it comes to gross domestic product growth and productivity, Cache always leads the rest of the state.”
The governor’s appraisal came after Chamber of Commerce President Jaime Andrus cited Cache County’s unemployment rate of less than 2 percent in her welcoming remarks, compared to the state’s unemployment rate of 2.6 percent as of July.
Recent data from the state’s Workforce Services division also supports the governor’s opinion.
That data indicates that the economy of Cache County has been and continues to be one of the strongest in Utah and the nation.
State analysts report that Cache County’s non-farm job growth rate is now 3.8 percent, compared to Utah’s job growth rate of 1.1 percent and a national job loss rate of 4.4 percent.
Although first-time unemployment insurance claims in Cache County are now higher than in previous years, state officials also emphasize that total construction permit values and gross taxable sales revenue are both up significantly.
Those statistics are viewed at state level as clear signs of an economy that avoided the worst economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cox added that much of the state is also unaware of the amount of technological innovation that is underway in Cache County.
“We were just out at iFIT,” he said, referring to his gubernatorial staff members. “Most Utahns still believe that they’re just turning wrenches and building treadmills at iFIT. That’s simply not the case; what they’re doing there is really revolutionary.”
Formerly known as ICON Health & Firness, iFIT is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of exercise equipment. That firm is also among the pioneers of connected fitness, delivering interactive personal training through online classes and digital applications.
Cox confessed that his personal ties to Cache Valley make every visit here feel like a homecoming.
Cox is a native of Fairview, Utah who attended Utah State University and has relatives living in Cache County.
“It’s incredible that, whenever I come up here and visit your local businesses, it blows me away,” the governor explained.
“Cache County has just always been such a well-managed county, with an incredibly diverse economy … This area is so impressive, but you haven’t lost those (small town) things that make you so special.”
Other locations on Cox’ itinerary were the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection (CRIC) facility, the West Point Dairy, the Cache Valley Operations Center in Hyrum, Gossner Foods and Logan City Hall.