I did a short contract in SLC this summer and was told new grads get about $18 and hour and average RN is $22-24.
I've called the various hospitals around here looking to get a feel for what starting wages are. I know that they're higher than $18/hr. IHC's hospitals pay around $21-22/hr to start. All the others are similar, and I think the U of U's hospital pays the least. There simply are a ton of nurses here. There are a lot of young women going to school here, and ask any of them and you'll find the most common choices of study are nursing, dental hygiene, or teaching.
Utah has this reputation of being a "right-to-work" state. There is this attitude that Utah is such a great place to live that they can pay you less than other places, because they know you'll stay here. Yet cost of living is still not as low as it ought to be. Another factor is that most Utah's (mainly LDS people... I know because I am one
) don't want to move out of Utah. They all want to stay within a block of every relative they know.
That said, Utah is a pretty nice place to live. Crime is pretty low, the state is run well, often among the highest rated in magazines such as Forbes and U.S. World News and Report. There are jobs, but they don't pay the best. This goes for any profession outside of say engineering or being a physician or dentist. Getting hosed on pay is something Utahns are used to. And being a waiter here absolutely sucks. They pay you $2.15/hr, and people tip horrendously, if they tip at all.
I for one will gladly move anywhere if it means getting the job i want. I actually think moving would be a lot of fun. Especially East Coast or the South somewhere.