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Front Page » August 9, 2007 » Local News » Carbon registers slightly expanding labor market employme...
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Carbon registers slightly expanding labor market employment numbers

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Although joblessness in the county registered at approximately 3.4 percent in June, Carbon's economy continued to create an expanding employment rate.

The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate Carbon County reported a local labor market totalling 9,636 employees in June 2007, compared to the 9,595 residents occupying non-farm wage and salaried positions in June 2006.

At the regional level, the southeastern district posted a 2.1 percent job growth rate in June 2007, with only Emery County experiencing a .3 percent labor market decline.

Encompassing Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties, the southeastern region's labor force numbered 23,692 in June 2007, compared to the 23,203 non-farm wage and salaried jobs reported district-wide last year.

At the state level, Utah's employment growth level has remained steady throughout 2007.

The number of non-farm wage and salaried positions in the state's labor force expanded 4.5 percent in June.

Approximately 55,100 jobs have been created in the Utah economy during the last year, raising total wage and salary employment to 1,266,700, noted the department or workforce services.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, measured at 2.6 percent in June - down 0.3 percentage points from 2.9 percent joblessness witnessed statewide last year.

Approximately 35,300 Utahns were unemployed in June 2007 compared to 38,100 in 2006.

"Employment growth continues to be robust in Utah. We are beginning to see the construction industry's growth taper off just a bit, even though it remains healthy. Much of this construction growth of the past three years has been for commercial, industrial and other non-residential demand. Once these structures are complete, business assumes ownership and fills these establishments with workers; many of them new workers," noted DWS economist Mark Knold.

"Retail trade has built aggressively over the past year. And as a result, we are seeing a dramatic upswing in retail trade employment that began in the latter quarter of last year," added the DWS economist. "So even though construction might tempering just a bit, other industries are ramping up their employment as they utilize all the new square footage brought on line."

Construction continued to lead Utah's employment growth with the creation of 13,500 jobs in the past year. Making a surge is Utah's trade, transportation and utilities sector, which expanded by 10,000 labor market positions in the past year.

The state's remaining industries are maintaining steady levels of employment growth, painting a picture of a robust and consistent Utah economy, noted the DWS economist.

"Over the past three years, construction in Utah has been building, building, building. Homes and other residential structures are a large part of this activity. But non-residential buildings have also been on the rise in growing numbers," pointed out Knold. "These structures ultimately lead to a new business, and that business needs new employees. We are beginning to see the aggressive addition of employment gains in various industries as a result of all this construction activity. None seems to be recently showing it more than the retail trade sector."

Utah's population has increased rapidly since springing out of recession in late 2003, noted the department of workforce services economist. Home building surged to accommodate the new residents and Utah's maturing 20-something population. An up-tick in retail trade establishments resulted, increasing the industry's labor force numbers statewide.

The more than 10,000 jobs created in Utah's trade, transportation and utility industry represents an acceleration in the employment growth witnessed statewide. A significant portion of the growth and all of the surge are occurring in the retail trade arena.

"New businesses have come on line aplenty, whether it's big-box retailers or smaller, specialty establishments tucked away in strip malls and other more subtle environs," commented Knold.

Federal, state and local governments represent the second largest employment industry in Utah, accounting for 17 percent of all labor market positions statewide. But employment in the sector expanded by only 1 percent during the last year.

Federal employment is primarily independent of Utah's population levels and growth, making the U.S. government an export industry. On the other hand, population sensitive state and local governments are designed to serve the public. Therefore, more residents require additional public services.

While Utah's population continues to grow rapidly, government employment has not expanded at an equal proportion. Aspects of government are finding ways to utilize technologies to not only limit the size of the sector's growth, but more efficiently deliver public services. Examples may include driver license renewal, automobile registration or filing for unemployment insurance. In many aspects of government, embracing technologies is having a money-saving effect upon the operation of government, concluded the department of workforce services.

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