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Front Page » March 22, 2007 » Local News » Carbon County economy continues to create expanding emplo...
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Carbon County economy continues to create expanding employment opportunity rate


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Carbon County continues to experience expanding employment.

Data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate that Carbon County's economy created more than 400 jobs during the one-year period between January 2006 and January 2007.

Carbon County reported 9,429 positions in the local labor force in 2007, compared to 9, 013 local employment opportunities in 2006, representing a 4.6 job expansion rate.

In neighboring Emery County, the number of local jobs climbed 1.8 percent from 3,729 to 3,796 in the 12-month period from January 2006 to 2007, according to the latest department of workforce services report.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate for January registered 3.7 percent, down from the 4.9 jobless percent registered last year.

Approximately 46,300 Utahns were unemployed in January 2006 compared to 59,000 in January 2005.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, registered 4.8 percent.

The number represents a strong revision upward from the previously forecasted employment growth rates of the last several months, noted the department of workforce services report.

"The economy generally moves in a methodical way. Whether up or down, it rarely takes large leaps in the process. But that's not to say it can't or that it doesn't. The hardest part of an economist's job is anticipating these strong jumps," explained DWS economist Mark Knold.

"During the third quarter of 2005, the Utah economy experienced one of these jumps. After operating in the mid 3 percent employment-growth range for the first half of 2005, the Utah economy unexpectedly jumped upward during last year's third quarter," added the DWS economist. "Employment growth went from 3.6 percent in June to 4.6 percent by September, a movement upward of one percentage point in just three months. The most surprising aspect is that the economy did this in the face of last year's gas price run up, an action that was thought would be a slowing mechanism upon the economy. It did cause a slowing at the national level, but not here in Utah. The bottom line is that, with this increase that developed by September of last year, our current employment forecasts needed to be adjusted up."

As has been the case throughout most of Utah's current economic expansion, all industrial sectors contributed to the employment growth during the one-year period from January 2006 to January 2007.

The statewide employment expansions range from a high of 11,700 jobs in the professional and business sector to 800 positions in the small other services category.

One positive aspect of the professional and business services sector's growth is that the category is staffed with high-paying occupations, pointed out the department of workforce services.

The occupations generally found within the sector are characterized with high levels of education and high amounts of monetary reward.

Examples of the jobs in the sector include architects, engineers, programmers, accountants, lawyers, industrial designers and consultants.

Business and professional services lost the sectors share of jobs during the state's recent economic downturn.

Building activity continues at a brisk pace across Utah. In response, the construction industry is expanding rapidly and clamoring for workers. Forecasts estimate that the construction industry has added approximately 9,000 jobs to payrolls statewide in the last year.

A recently released job vacancy study conducted by the Utah Department of Workconducted by the Utah Department of Workforce Services shows that the average hourly advertised wage as reported by construction businesses statewide during fourth quarter 2005 was $16.30.

One year prior, the advertised wage was $12.10. The increase represents is a graphic example of what happens when there is a labor shortage and the wage bidding that can occur within a booming industry, explained the department of workforce services economist.

Thousands of additional employment opportunities are being created across Utah's other industrial sectors, continued the DWS economist.

Nearly 8,200 job opportunities in Utah's labor force were recorded statewide in the trade, transportation and utilities sector during the past year.

Education and health services contributed an additional 5,500 employment opportunities in the last 12 months, continuing the sector's long-running and consistent positive performance within Utah's economy, noted the DWS economist.

At the national level, the United States economy has added 2.1 million jobs for a growth rate of 1.6 percent since January 2005.

Utah's economy added approximately 52,700 employment opportunities for a growth rate of 4.8 percent.

The Utah additions represent about 2.5 percent of all the positions created across the U.S. in the last 12 months.

The nationwide unemployment rate continued to move downward, falling to 4.7 percent in January 2007, concluded the department of workforce services.


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