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Front Page » September 18, 2007 » Local News » Carbon County posts rising monthly wages
Published 2,947 days ago

Carbon County posts rising monthly wages

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Between 2005 and 2006, Carbon County's economy generated a 7.3 percent increase in average monthly wages earned by local residents.

The latest Trendlines data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate Carbon County surpassed the 5.4 percent wage expansion rate experienced statewide within the one-year period

Earning rates are calculated from wage and salary summations submitted by employers to the department of workforce services, pointed out DWS economist John Mathews. The information originates from the quarterly unemployment insurance contributions reports from 80,000 worksites at locations across the state.

The calculations show the percent change between 2005 and 2006 in the average wage by county. The increases reflect the state's tight labor market, with low unemployment land wages being bid up for workers in demand occupations, pointed out the DWS economist.

Utah's overall 5.4 percent increase in wages was up from about 3.5 percent posted statewide in the proceeding two years.

Based on information from the occupational employment statistics survey, Mathews indicated that the highest paid professions in Utah in 2006 were doctors, dentists, lawyers and engineering managers.

The lowest paid positions included counter attendants in food service, food preparation workers, ushers, dishwashers and fast-food cooks.

The survey produces wage estimates for 600 occupations and nine geographic areas in Utah. Approximately 4,000 employers are contacted to collect the information annually.

Last year, the highest paid Utahns worked in the medical field, where anesthesiologists averaged $91.91 and ob/gyns averaged $88.88 per hour, noted Mathews. Other physicians reported earnings of $60 to $80 per hour. Engineering managers averaged $46.18 and lawyers earned $51.35.

Hourly rates for the lowest paid Utahns included counter attendants at $7.20, food preparation/serving workers at $7.29, dishwashers at $7.36 and servers at $7.63.

Last year, the bulk of Utah workers fell between the highest and lowest paid wage levels.

The statewide average represents the wage weighted by employment in the individual occupation, explained Mathews.

At the state level, Utah's economy leads the nation in employment growth with a 4.5 percent rate, noted DWS chief economist Mark Knold.

"Utah stands out because that rate of growth is so far ahead of the next closest state, Arizona, whose growth rate measures 3.4 percent," noted Knold. "That's a significant gap between the top state and the nextbest performer. National employment growth averages only 1.5 percent and, in stark contrast to Utah, some states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin are experiencing employment declines."

Utah has an excellent chance of maintaining the statewide employment expansion rate throughout the remainder of 2007 and into next year.

"There is very little working against the Utah economy right now while, throughout the nation, the housing downturn and additional impending fallout from the sub-prime mortgage market is taking its economic toll," continued Knold. "Nevada and Arizona are two states that have recently been atop the economic nperformance scale, but both states have seen their economies soften because of these housing and mortgage influences. Utah didn't sprint past these other economies to the top. Instead, Utah held its ground while the others faltered."

Utah avoided the housing exuberance that infected the nation, pointed out the chief economist. Utah's residential construction was rooted in real home-buying population growth and not based upon speculative development and excess investment.

"Therefore, Utah doesn't have a housing-market correction to work through. Utah wasn't immune from the use of sub-prime mortgages, but as long as the economy stays vibrant and wages are on the increase, the fallout from this funding pitfall should be minimal as incomes rise sufficiently to meet these increased payment shocks - but it is a fine line," noted the DWS chief economist.

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