The Utah Manufacturers Association is the voice of industry and an advocate for change, supporting members and helping build a better tomorrow.
The Utah Manufacturers Association (UMA), is the leading trade association for the manufacturing community in the state of Utah. UMA is the one-stop shop for workforce, safety, employee development, local and national public policy, business development and continuous improvement. As industry leaders come together with UMA we work to solve the relevant issues facing manufacturers. We fight for the manufacturing industry, because we know “what Utah makes, makes Utah,” for us all.
When our founders entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1847, they quickly set about the business of establishing the state. Farmers planted seeds in soil softened by irrigation water, and industrialists built modest, but efficient, manufacturing facilities such as a plant for making adobe brick, a grist mill, a sawmill, and a system for recovering salt from the Great Salt Lake.
In 1850, sugar beet seeds were brought to Utah, which created one of the state’s largest and most durable industries. In the next two years, the local settlers had established industries to make everything from pottery to paper. The founding of the University of Deseret (Utah) in 1850 and the dedication of the Salt Lake Theatre in 1862 show the commitment of early settlers to education and culture.
As Utah stepped into the 1860s, four explosive decades lay ahead. Manufacturing expanded rapidly to provide new construction materials such as stone, sand, gravel, clay and limestone. The completion of the transcontinental railroad provided the economic feasibility of developing Utah’s many mineral deposits, and that, in turn, brought about a boom in associated industries.
Despite the period of Civil War, inflation during the early 1860s and the deep depression of the mid 1870s, Utah grew dramatically. Manufacturing grew to provide parts and equipment for the changing transportation scene, and electricity was paving the way for mass production technology.
The Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Utah was organized in 1905 to help encourage and develop industrial growth in the Beehive State, and to help foster the dedication for outstanding quality established by the state’s founders in 1847. In 1905, only 8,000 people were engaged in manufacturing in the state. During World War I, Utah manufacturing rallied around the national war effort, while pausing in personal pursuits.
The year 1918 was important because of the Great Pandemic and the airplanes that began to appear in Utah. Utah’s railroads helped the state’s growing industries. In 1918, World War I American soldiers, stationed in military camps across the United States, were among the earliest victims of the pandemic.
The state was enjoying life to the fullest when the disastrous depression of 1929 struck. The nation was quickly humbled, and Utah was among the states hit hardest. In 1933 Utah’s unemployment rate was 35.8 percent, the fourth highest in the nation.
By 1940, there were 17,900 men and women engaged in Utah’s manufacturing operations, and that number swelled as the nation was plunged into World War II and the state’s industries were again called on to answer. Those needs were met through increased production of essential metals, war equipment, and even parachutes as Utah’s silk industry in southern Utah was given new life.
By 1956, manufacturing employment had grown to 35,300 Utahns in such industries as production, meat packing, canning, frozen foods, dairy products, milling, publishing, chemicals, paints, tools and more. Utah stepped into what could be called the “Sophisticated Sixties,” a time of space-age technology and a wide range of industries.
By 1963, manufacturing employment had climbed to 54,700, as new companies were being formed in the state; new industry was coming to Utah, and older, established Utah firms were expanding and modernizing facilities. Fast forwarding to today, the manufacturers of the Beehive State make up the largest industry in Utah, totaling nearly $23 billion of annual gross state product.
During the late 1970s, a new commonwealth economy emerged from the essentially colonial economy of the 1950s and 1960s as Utah entrepreneurs generated much of the state’s growth internally. By the late 1980s, Utah had developed a postindustrial and postcolonial economy that others might have envied.
In the year of UMA’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, employment reached 93,300 men and women working in more than 1,600 plants. Manufacturing in Utah was once again expanding into an enviable industry. Approximately $250 million were being invested in manufacturing plants and equipment.
As the age of the internet dawned, UMA created a worldwide website to provide members with timely updates on critical legislative issues. Increasing diversity during this decade prompted the UMA Board of Directors to approve the “Guiding Principles for Supporting Legislation” on December 9, 1997.
Despite the economy descending into the worst crisis since the Great Depression, the manufacturing industry held strong. Though Utah was in no way exempt to the effects of the recession, manufacturing still managed to grow into a vital industry.
Of course, the 2000s weren’t all doom and gloom. This decade also saw an incredible expansion of medical research and resources, and with it, an expansion of medical manufacturing. Seventy percent of arterial and vascular access devices used throughout the world are manufactured in Utah.
Similar to the exciting technological advances in the 1920s, there was once again an exciting time of invention and innovation in the 2010s. Smart phones, computers, tablets, laptops — all became easily accessible and necessary during this decade. Once again, manufacturing expanded. You probably don’t think a great deal about the copper, silver, and silicone that go into your electronics, but rest assured, Utah manufacturers are building electronic goods from all these materials.
In 2014, the average worker earned $64,204 annually, but the average manufacturing worker earned $79,553 annually, including pay and benefits. Over the past 25 years, exports of U.S. manufactured goods more than quadrupled. In 2014, it reached an all-time high, for the fifth consecutive year, of $1.4 trillion.
Raising the awareness and competitiveness of the Manufacturing Industry The first Annual Coolest Thing Made in Utah Contest was held. With a focus on products manufactured if Utah 222 products were nominated to compete against one another. Four voting rounds based on public vote were held narrowing down the products to Top 25, Top 10, Final 3 and ultimately the winner. After 45,000 votes cast Bean Trailer was named the 2019 Coolest Thing Made In Utah. The contest brought a huge awareness to the manufacturing industry with over 617,000 social media impressions. The Utah Manufacturers Association continues to provide avenues to manufacturing success. In November 2019 UMA announced the creation of the Utah Manufacturers Association Center for Business and Continuous Improvement. The Center helps Utah manufacturing companies by enhancing their competitiveness, productivity, and performance.
Become a part of the manufacturing movement.
Forgot your password?
Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive mail with link to set new password.
Back to login