Local Economy

Issue Background

Communities need to discuss the trade-offs of providing the physical locations and competitive financial environment necessary to attract various types of economic development to the area. The intent of the local economy element of the general plan is to explore community priorities, but not necessarily outline a tactical economic development plan.

From its historical dependence on agriculture, Cedar City has developed into a center for tourism, healthcare, business and education. Nonagricultural employment, as a percentage of the economic base in Iron County, has continued to expand throughout the past two decades. The city has diversified its non-tourism related economic base to include a variety of manufacturing,
distribution, mining, trade, and both private and public service sector  employers. With Cedar City as the driving force, Iron County has become one of the most economically diverse counties in the State of Utah. The Hachman Index indicated that Iron County is tied 2nd out of all Utah Counties and has an index rating of 0.87. Because of its size, location, and accessibility, Cedar City is a regional center for shopping, health care, education, entertainment and financial and business services. Many communities within southwestern Utah and southeastern Nevada patronize the City and its shopping districts.

The tourism and economic benefits resulting from the growth of the  Shakespearean Festival has led to the development of other festivals to capitalize on the growing tourist industry. The arts and the “Festival City, USA” concept remain viable components in the economic structure of Cedar City. Expanding offerings in the form of new festivals and celebrations include the Neil Simon Festival, SkyFest, the Utah Summer Games, the American Family fest, the Great American Stampede, and the Cedar City Livestock and Heritage Festival, among others.

Cedar City has experienced steady increases in non-farm jobs since mid-2009, with a surge in jobs since 2016. However, the City also reports that the lack of water supply has hampered the area’s ability to recruit potential manufacturing firms.

Emerging Issues

  • All indications are that Cedar City will see a positive growth trend in the coming years. Cedar City offers low energy costs, low local taxes, a young educated workforce, population growth for the workforce of tomorrow, competitive land costs, and excellent quality of life.
  • Cedar City’s amenities make it attractive to remote workers, but the City will need to continue with efforts to draw tech sector employers in order to keep those employees over time. 
  • The Cedar area has identified four industry clusters that are strong today and will likely grow into the future.  These include manufacturing, small entrepreneurial businesses, renewable energy, and tourism.
  • Click here to tell us your ideas about emerging issues for the economy in Cedar City! 

Potential Goals and Investments

The strategic economic development objectives in the previous plan include:

  1. (from previous plan) Foster cooperation, communication and coordination of local, county and area leaders.
  2. (from previous plan) Recruit quality businesses providing higher wages and benefits to employees.
  3. (from previous plan) Improve employment opportunities through the retention and expansion of existing businesses.
  4. (from previous plan) Conduct marketing research and prepare essential information regarding Cedar City and Iron County.
  5. (from previous plan) Provide comprehensive marketing information to increase tourism.
  6. (from previous plan) Maintain and improve the infrastructure of Cedar City and Iron County to accommodate business and tourism growth.