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Front Page » December 12, 2006 » Local News » Carbon economy creates expanding labor market
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Carbon economy creates expanding labor market

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Carbon County's economy continues to create an expanding labor market in October.

The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate that Carbon posted a 7.7 percent job growth rate during the one-year period between October 2006 and October 2005.

Carbon reported 9,981 non-farm employment opportunites in October 2006 compared to the 9,268 jobs recorded by the county in 2005.

At the state level, Utah's number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs posted a strong year-over increase of 5 percent in October.

Approximately 58,900 jobs were created in the Utah economy in the last year, raising total wage and salary employment to 1,228,900 workers statewide.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, registered at 2.5 percent in October, down 1.7 percentage points from last year's 4.2 percent jobless rate.

Approximately 33,000 Utahns were unemployed in October 2006 compared to 54,100 displaced workers in October 2005.

"It's time to start thinking outside the box in terms of what this economy can do. An unemployment rate of 2.5 percent has never before been recorded in Utah. The lowest I could find was 3 percent in March 1997," noted Mark Knold, department of workforce services economist. "It may have been that low during WWII when defense employment surged, but unemployment rates weren't calculated until 1950. There are still roughly 33,000 people considered in the labor force and unemployed so I guess there is room for more people to be employed, but we have never had an unemployment rate this low. Nebraska, during the late 1990s, had an unemployment rate as low as 2.2 percent, so at least one state showed it is possible to get that low. Stay tuned to see what happens next."

At the national level, the United States' economy added 1.9 million jobs since October 2005 for a growth rate of 1.4 percent.

The approximately 58,900 employment opportunities created throughout the state in Utah represents about 3 percent of all jobs added nationwide in the last year.

All employment sectors in Utah continued to add jobs in October.

The expansion ranged from 14,800 jobs in construction and 11,000 professional-business positions to 1,100 employment opportunities in the other services sector.

Since March 2004, all of Utah's industrial sectors have been adding jobs.

The noteworthy expansion stretch of two and one-half years shows no signs of letting up, pointed out the DWS economist.

Construction employment continues to lead the way and, with the amount of ongoing activity, the sector looks well set to keep reporting expanding labor market participation statewide through 2007.

As the second largest employment growth area, professional and business services added 11,000 positions in the past year and is still going strong.

Overall, Utah's financial services sector grew 5.5 percent in the past year, creating 3,800 positions. This sector's future success will be tied to Utah's housing market going forward.

Government - federal, state and local - is the second largest employment industry in Utah. In the last 12 months, 3,600 employees were added to government payrolls statewide for a growth rate of 1.8 percent.

It is important to note that Utah's population is growing at a faster rate at approximately 3 percent than government's employment expansion, explained the department of workforce services economist.

Federal government jobs increased by 700 positions statewide in the past year. The federal government is the one sector that functions without a direct sensitivity to Utah's population count.

The two sectors that function with direct sensitivity to population - state and local governments - added the most jobs.

State government payrolls increased by 1,300 positions for a 2 percent growth rate and local government added 1,700 employees for a 1.5 percent expansion rate.

A significant portion of local government employment fall within the kindergarten to 12th grade education system.

And with Utah's rapidly expanding school-age population, it is only natural that local government payroll would see the largest increase, pointed out the department of workforce services economist.

Utah's leisure and hospitality industry added 3,900 jobs in the past year for a growth rate of 3.8 percent.

The leisure and hospitality sector currently employs 107,000 workers at locations across the state, concluded the DWS economist.

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