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Front Page » March 26, 2009 » Carbon County News » Employment expands, jobs drop
Published 2,046 days ago

Employment expands, jobs drop


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By LYNNDA JOHNSON
Sun Advocate editor

Carbon County posted an expanding employment level in February, but the local jobless rate still climbed by one percentage point.

Carbon reported a 7.3 percent job growth rate between February and January, indicated the latest calculations released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Nevertheless, the county's unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent to 5.3 percent during the one-month period. By comparison, Carbon County's jobless rate registered at 3.9 percent in February 2008

At the state level, Utah's non-farm wage and salaried job count for February 2009 contracted by 2.1 percent in February, based on data generated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the unemployment rate, rose to 5.1 percent in February compared to last year's 3.3 percent jobless level.

At the national level, the United States unemployment rate climbed to 8.1 percent.

"We are still seeing high levels of initial unemployment claims here in Utah as March unfolds. That variable is our most leading of all economic indicators," noted Mark Knold, department of workforce services representative. "High levels continue to signify an economy that remains under duress and one that is not finished squeezing out the jobs that may have become unnecessary. This suggests there are more declining numbers ahead, yet there is also hope that these losses will begin to stabilize by the summer months."

The majority of Utah's industrial sectors continued to face job losses. Only government, education, health care and natural resources created employment opportunities during the last 12 months. Construction, manufacturing, leisure-hospitality and the trade-transportation sectors are the hardest hit industries. The latest phase of the economic downturn has transformed into significant job losses in manufacturing. Construction still led the job loss ledger with 14,000 fewer labor force positions than recorded 12 months ago. But the manufacturing industrstarted to show losses approaching an equal footing.

As generally fits the pattern within recessions, government emerged as the Utah sector posting the largest job gains, creating 6,800 positions statewide in the last year, pointed out the DWS economist.

The employment opportunities were primarily traced to local governments, particularly the state's kindergarten to 12th grade public education system.

State government rolls were also up, with education as the main arena.

The federal labor statistics bureau tracks Utah's jobless rates back to 1976.

However, the state's employment records go back to 1939, explained the department of workforce services economist.

The state's most significant employment expansions and contractions have entered around war years.

For example, Knold indicated that Utah's labor force expanded 40 percent in mid-1943, but contracted nearly 10 percent by late 1944 due to economic factors associated with World War II.

Utah's employment level also ramped up about 15 percent at the Korean conflict's peak, then contracted by 5 percent during the war's decline.

Utah's latest employment contraction registered at -2.1 percent in February, but the figure is destined to drop as the next several months are tabulated, concluded the DWS economist.

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March 26, 2009
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