The report shows other unanticipated cities with high concentrations of advanced industries—Wichita, Kansas, for example—but these places tend to rely heavily on single industries, and they tend to stand alone rather than being clustered. In Utah, by contrast, the firms aren’t concentrated in one particular sector—the state’s super-sector employment comes largely from software businesses, but also from medical-device manufacturers and makers of aerospace products, among others—and the three cities on the list are all within driving and public-transit distance of one another. “We don’t pay attention to Utah much, and Utah clearly sticks to its own affairs,” Muro said. “There’s a sense that they’re not like some metros, selling themselves externally, and yet, they do seem to be executing.”
Lured by factors such as tax breaks, affordable real estate, an educated populace (many of whom had foreign-language skills gained during missionary trips), and the strong public-transit system, big companies, ranging from eBay and E.M.C. to Edwards Lifesciences, which makes heart valves, started opening offices in town, employing many hundreds of people each. Startups, too, have sprouted up, some of them founded by B.Y.U. graduates. The unemployment rate in Draper is around three per cent, compared to six per cent nationwide, Now, the state legislature has voted to relocate a state prison that has been based there for decades. Walker envisions turning that real estate into a multi-use development with housing and businesses—anchored, he hopes, by a big corporation.