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Study: URS Has Major Economic Impact on State

URS pension payments help keep Utah’s economy buzzing, supporting thousands of jobs and significantly boosting the tax base.

A study released Monday (March 25, 2019) by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute shows how these payments ripple throughout the state’s economy.

In 2018, the economic activity generated by URS pension payments supported almost 9,000 Utah jobs, $360 million in wages, $677 million in state GDP, and $59 million in state and local tax revenue.

“Every dollar initially contributed to the system by public employers ultimately supports $1.24 of economic activity in Utah,” said John C. Downen, Senior Managing Economist at the Gardner Institute. “Beyond supporting the recipients of the payments, retiree spending of URS pension payments generated 8,800 jobs across the state with almost $360 million in earnings.”

In 2018, URS paid more than $1.5 billion in pension benefits to more than 60,000 Utahns, an amount so large, it’s equivalent to 1.1 percent of the state’s total personal income. “This is larger than the earnings paid by computer and electronics manufacturers or the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry in Utah,” Downen said.

The average portion of benefits paid through investment returns over the past 20 years is about 64 percent.

» See Complete Study

» See Video

» Infographic: URS Impact

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By the Numbers
Utah Retirement Systems Economic Impact on the State in 2018

$1.5 Billion total pension payouts

60,363 total recipients

1.1% of state’s total income

8,818 jobs supported

$358,615,912 in earnings supported

$676,809,055 in regional GDP impact

$59,054,901 state and local tax impact