Carbon's economy continues to create expanding employment
Carbon County's economy managed to continue to create employment opportunities last month.
The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate Carbon reported 0.8 percent job growth in August 2008 compared to 2007. However, the county's jobless rate registered at 4.8 percent.
Last month, Carbon County's labor force totalled 9,678 participants, while 484 local workers remained unemployed.
At the state level, the department of workforce services estimated Utah's non-farm wage and salaried job growth for August at 0.3 percent, marking the lowest monthly unemployment growth rate since August 2003.
Approximately 3,260 jobs have been created in the Utah economy over the past year, raising total wage and salary employment to 1,256,960. Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions - the unemployment rate - jumped to 3.7 percent in August. In 2007, the state's rate was 2.8 percent. Approximately 50,600 Utahns were considered unemployed in August 2008 compared to 37,800 last August.
The United States unemployment rate rose four-tenths to 6.1 percent.
"There are powerful negative external economic pressures that are weighing upon the Utah economy. The most influential is the nation's credit crisis and how it has permeated the housing industry. Until this housing/credit disorder comes back in line, nationwide and in Utah ? the negative economic pressures will remain. Its correction does not appear close at hand and, even when it comes, it may be a slow process," noted DWS representative, Mark Knold. "In other words, it appears the economics will continue to worsen before they get better. Therefore, Utah is about to enter a contracting employment environment, meaning net job losses for a state that rarely sees such an event. This employment contraction could easily remain with us over the course of the next year."
Several Utah industries are showing year-over losses on the employment ledger.
Construction stands out with the industry dropping 14,400 jobs statewide during the year.
The financial sector recorded a decrease of 1,100 positions and the losses may climb statewide as the year progresses. The sector is being pulled down by the national credit situation and Utah's downward movement in finance-related jobs will probably deepen.
Utah's manufacturing industry has also moved to the negative side of the ledger. High transportation and materials costs along with slowing consumer demand and the lack of a strong international export base combined to dampen Utah's manufacturing base.
"There is almost a rural vs. metro economic performance dichotomy developing in the Utah economy. Rural economies, which didn't see much in the way of a housing boom, are still holding up well. Conversely, metropolitan counties where the housing boom resided are stumbling and, in many cases, already on the negative side of the employment ledger," indicated Knold. "Those counties include large proportions of the state's jobs, so the sluggish metro counties dominate the overall state numbers, whereas the still prosperous rural county performances tend to get overlooked."