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Equality and the Economy

(KUTV) Utah's latest jobless numbers were released Friday and there is good news.{ } The unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point in five years. The state's economy is currently one of the best in the nation, but could it be even better if there was marriage equality? One recruiter in Utah believes rights for our LGBT neighbors could mean financial stability for everybody.

This week is a prime example of equality or the lack of equality in Utah. State legislators walked away from a nondiscrimination bill that would have protected gay and lesbian employees from unfair firing.

Issues like this could hold Utah back from greater economic growth says Ema Ostarcevic of the staffing company Search Group Partners. Ostarcevic sees the issue up close and personal on a daily basis.{ } She explains that, "you can terminate someone for their sexual orientation, so if you are a gay or lesbian employee and considering a move to the state, that is a legitimate and serious concern."{ }

Ostarcevic is a recruiter for Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 businesses with offices in Utah, New York and Tennessee. She explains that the "ability to attract and retain talent is huge and a lot of that has to do with supporting the individual rights of these employees."

Utah in recent years has attracted significant new business and is known as the "silicon slopes." Tech companies like Adobe, EBay and CHAIRr Entertainment are using cutting edge technology and{ } need{ } out of state candidates to fill their positions. These companies are just a few of the thousands that currently exist.

Ostarcevic makes a business out of filling vacancies she says, "The talent isn't here and we go out, find them, track them and convince them to move to the fine state of Utah and work for companies here."

Looking forward, Ostarcevic believes that growing companies in Utah by getting more to move here will greatly depend on equality laws like gay marriage, which is now on the table.{ } She says she's, "actually had clients, big clients, multibillion dollar corporations express an interest in leaving the state or not adding facilities in the state of Utah because they're not able to offer their employees the same rights as in other states."

Companies know that keeping their employees happy at home and feeling supported makes for a better workforce.{ } If gay or straight families struggle with personal issues at home, businesses will struggle too.


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Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group

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