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The City Journals

West Valley City recognized for COVID-19 employment, economic recovery

Sep 29, 2020 02:23PM ● By Darrell Kirby

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

Few cities in America have escaped the economic fallout from lockdowns and restrictions on business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

West Valley City is no exception. However, the finance website, WalletHub, ranks the city as one of the top municipalities in the country for recovering relatively quickly from the depths of the economic toll inflicted by the spread of the virus.  

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, WalletHub rated West Valley City ninth among cities in the U.S. in the fast improvement of its unemployment rate during the worst stretch of the health crisis. 

“West Valley City is among the top cities whose unemployment rates are bouncing back the most,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Its July unemployment rate was 5.6%, the fifth lowest in the country and just about half of the national average of 10.2%.” The national jobless rate has since dropped to 8.4% in August. Utah registered 4.5% in July. 

By contrast, New York City’s unemployment rate shot up to 20% in July, a 464% increase since January.  

West Valley City economic development director Mark Nord credits the rebound to the city’s diverse economy compared to other locales that have narrower, more volatile business bases. “West Valley City has made tremendous efforts to make sure that we had this diverse base so if a certain sector was negatively impacted we would still be able to provide the same level of services to our residents,” he said.

Gonzalez cites another reason for the better employment numbers. “The report is an indicator of how well local authorities have handled the health crisis.” That in turn has allowed West Valley and other cities on the list to reopen their economies more quickly and get people back to work. 

“The WalletHub ranking is another validation to what we are already seeing in terms of new capital investment and new development in West Valley City,” Nord said.

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky tops the WalletHub unemployment recovery list. Surrounding West Valley in the rankings are Boise at eighth and 10th-place Billings, Montana. 

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