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A new study says Utahns are far more optimistic about their financial future than most Americans, and the young "millennial" generation of 18- to 34-year-olds is the most upbeat of all.
The Utah Foundation report said Utahns likely are more confident because recovery from the recession was quicker and stronger here than in other states. And millennials may be the most confident because they are young and have extra time to improve their financial standing before retirement.
The foundation released Thursday the second of a four-part study about differences in attitudes among generations in Utah, this one focusing on finances and workplaces. It surveyed 1,300 Utahns in March with the same questions used in national polls to allow comparisons with other Americans.
Millennials will provide 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025, according to the foundation, but that young group seems to confound older generations with "different styles of communication, levels of technology use and expectations for jobs."
Researchers found that a tiny minority of just 2 percent of Utah millennials feel they do not earn enough now and will not in the future. Nationally, 14 percent of millennials had such views.
Among other generations in Utah, 9 percent of Gen Xers (ages 35 to 50) had pessimistic outlooks, as did 18 percent of baby boomers (ages 51 to 69).
Those rates were still half to two-thirds as low as among other Americans in the same generations. Nationally, 30 percent of Gen Xers said they do not earn enough now and will not in the future, as did 38 percent of baby boomers.
The study also found that millennials in Utah are far more optimistic than older generations about the prospects of finding a great job.
"Utah millennials respond 21 percent of the time that finding a job that they really want would be very easy, compared to 15 percent of Gen Xers and 13 percent of boomers," the study said.
"Conversely, only 8 percent of Utah millennials responded that finding a job that they really want would be very difficult compared to 9 percent of Gen Xers and 26 percent of boomers."
Millennials in Utah also seem to be happier with their current companies than are other American their same age but less so than older generations of Utah workers.
The survey found that 41 percent of Utah millennials hope to work for a different employer within the next two years, compared to 54 percent of all American millennials.
Meanwhile, 18 percent of Utah Gen Xers hope to work for a new company in the next two years, as do 15 percent of those ages 51 to 59 and 6 percent of those ages 60 and 69.
The study said Utah millennials may be more stable than their counterparts nationally because of Utah's better economy. With low unemployment rates here, "Utahns may have been able to negotiate themselves into better positions or have obtained employment in more desirable organizations," the study said.