Employment expansion rate moderates in Carbon, region
Local employment moderated during fourth quarter 2008 as Carbon County battled the negative effects of the current economic recession.
Carbon's job growth registered at 7.4 percent in December compared to 2007 and the local labor force expanded by about 675 employment opportunities.
Mining employment climbed by approximately 540 jobs compared to 2007.
However, part of the increase was due to a data correction and not reflective of economic activity, noted the latest regional report released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Other goods producing industries in Carbon County posted job gains, with construction creating 51 positions and manufacturing adding 33 employment opportunities.
On the negative side of the spectrum, the majority of the county's service producing industries shed jobs in fourth quarter 2008, with the exception of health care, education and local government.
Carbon County's unemployment rate remained relative steady through 2008, registering between 4 percent and 5 percent.
However, the local jobless level had climbed to 5.9 percent by March 2009.
At the regional level, Utah's economic contraction impacted most industries in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties, with the important exception of the mining sector.
Overall in 2008, the average annual number of payroll jobs in the southeastern Utah region grew by 330 to 22,388, representing an increase of 1.5 percent.
The performance was overstated by about 150 positions as some mining jobs were incorrectly attributed in 2007 to Uintah County, but were added to Carbon in 2008, explained the department of workforce services.
The region's robust economic expansion of 2005 and 2006 gradually slowed during 2007 and through the first half of 2008 in the southeastern counties.
At the beginning of last year, employment opportunities across the region were increasing by about 2.1 percent annually. But the employment expansion rate gradually declined to virtually no new jobs by midsummer, indicated the department of workforce services.
The region's level of unemployment climbed from an annual average rate of 4.3 percent in 2007 to 4.8 percent in 2008. By March 2009, the jobless rate increased to 6.6 percent.
An estimated 1,727 Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan residents were unemployed in March 2009 compared to the 1,190 displaced workers reported in March 2008.
Bursting national and local housing bubbles, accompanied by sharp declines in construction jobs, has primarily driven the current recession, according to report released by the department of workforce services.
By December, construction had dropped 144 jobs for a decline of 10.8 percent compared to 2007's numbers.
The labor market outlook continued to contract through the first five or six months of 2009.
Despite a slowing job loss rate, unemployment will likely continue to climb across the southeastern region.
But with the current stimulus efforts and Utah's natural propensity to expand, business and employment should stop contracting statewide by the end of summer, concluded the June department of workforce services southeastern region report.