Carbon posts new population growth
Carbon County's employment levels expanded and the local area posted a relatively steady jobless rate during third quarter 2008.
The coal mining industry labor force increased from approximately 750 workers in September 2007 to more than 1,400 employees in 2008.
In addition, the county's unemployment ranged from 4 percent to 5 percent throughout last year, indicated the latest regional report compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
The local jobless rate registered 4.6 percent in December 2008.
Along with the county's coal mining sector, the local construction, business services and health care industries added employment opportunities in third quarter 2008.
However, building reported mixed activity as the number of permitted dwelling units dropped by 48 percent, while the total valuation of construction registered on the positive side at 0.2 percent.
Although third quarter spending dipped by 2.4 percent, economic activity in Carbon County remains positive, but local indicators show mixed reports, pointed out the department of workforce services.
The nation, Utah and, to a lesser extent, the southeastern region continue to face an economic and labor market recession, noted the department of workforce services.
Home prices and construction are falling. Credit is tight for consumers and industry. Retail sales are down. Businesses are cutting jobs as well as investments and unemployment is rising due to the economic contraction.
The region encompasses Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.
But Carbon County, the region and Utah share several characteristics that position the local area and the state for expansion.
Utahns in general and local residents in particular are known as productive employees with a strong work ethic, explained the state agency.
On average, workers statewide are the youngest in the nation and value education along with training. In addition, Utah fosters a favorable business environment and the state's history of population growth supports economic health, continued the department of workforce services.
According to Utah's estimates committee, the southeastern region's population reached 54,983 on July 1, 2008, representing an increase of 860 individuals compared to 2007. The year-over gain of 1.6 percent was the best annual population growth posted in the region since 1996.
Annual changes in population are measured as mid-year estimates and are comprised of two components - natural increase and net migration, explained the department of workforce services. In 2008, the southeastern region reported 793 births in the 12 months prior to last July 1, for a 1.1 percent increase compared to 2007. Deaths totaled 416. The resulting natural increase, births minus deaths, equaled 377 persons.
In 2008, the region's net migration registered on the positive side of the population spectrum, with 483 more people moving into than leaving the area. The net migration figure represents highest number of people relocating into the area reported by the region since 1996.
From 2000 to 2008, the region's population increased by 1.7 percent or 908, climbing from 54,075 residents in 2000 to 54,983 in 2008.
At the local level, Carbon County's population climbed by 0.6 percent or 111 residents after averaging an annual 0.3 percent decline during the last eight years.
Carbon's population decreased 2.7 percent between 2000 and 2008.
In 2000, the county reported 20,396 residents.
By 2008, the population dropped by 555 to 19,841 before rebounding last July, concluded the department of workforce services.