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Front Page » February 6, 2007 » Local News » Utah workforce services department updates status of stat...
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Utah workforce services department updates status of state, local economy


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After plummeting to record lows, Utah's jobless rate twitched upward in November 2007.

According to the latest Trendlines report released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the statewide unemployment rate rose to 2.6 percent in November, up from October's 2.5 percent.

"Statistically, that's absolutely no change whatsoever," pointed out Mark Knold, the department of workforce services economist. "The number of people unemployed is at historic lows. We've never seen it this low before."

"There's just this lack of workers out there - the reserve army of the unemployed that are out there to fill jobs that the employer community can fall back on," continued the department of workforce services economist.

At the local level, the recent layoff of 114 mine employees has left Carbon County worrying about the future of the region's economy, explained the January 2007 Trendlines report.

UtahAmerican Energy Inc. announced that the company laid off employees at the Tower Mine in Price due to rising levels of methane gas in the underground coal operation. Company representatives called the layoffs temporary.

At the state level, Utah is in the midst of a metamorphosis driven by a red-hot economy and a surging population.

Decades will pass before the state takes its final form, but economists and demographers predict a more diverse population, a more complex economy and the need for a more flexible, responsive education system, noted the Trendlines report.

Cashing in on the hottest economy in a quarter century, Gov. Jon Huntsman unveiled a $10.7 billion budget for next year.

The governor's budget includes $100 million in tax cuts as well as record spending for education and other state needs.

Utah home prices climbed 17.4 percent in the third quarter 2006, the second-highest appreciation rate in the nation, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

In the second quarter 2006, Utah ranked 10th in the nation in house-price appreciation.

But in the most recent quarter, the Beehive State's appreciation rate was second only to Idaho. Idaho showed a 17.5 percent increase compared to the third quarter 2005.

Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are on the rise nationally, but are dropping in Utah.

For the three months ending Sept. 30,, 2006 Utah's foreclosure rate decreased to 0.68 percent, down from 1.06 percent in third quarter 2005.

Thirty-four states currently post higher foreclosure rates than Utah.

Nebraska-based Union Pacific said it is moving record amounts of coal from Wyoming's Southern Powder River Basin and coal-producing mines in Utah and Colorado.

The Ute Indian Tribe signed an agreement with three energy producers to develop 146,000 acres of land on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in eastern Utah.

The 146,000 acres of new development will join 236,000 acres of tribal lands already under development, concluded the Trendlines report.


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