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Front Page » October 8, 2002 » Local News » County jobless rate climbs
Published 4,361 days ago

County jobless rate climbs


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Carbon County's unemployment rate climbed to 5.5 percent in September, exceeding Aug-ust's joblessness by one-half of a percentage point.

By comparison, unemployment in Carbon County registered at 5.3 percent in September 2001.

In neighboring Emery County, the jobless rate jumped to 9.3 percent from the 8.2 percent level posted in August.

In September 2001, Emery County reported a 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

On the state scene, Utah's jobless rate increased to 5.3 percent in September, inching up from the 5 percent level experienced in August.

"Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty in the market place and that factor translates into more cautious behavior by both consumers and businesses. We anticipate that this situation will persist for several more months as the economy and job markets slowly recover," noted Utah Department of Workforce Services director Raylene Ireland.

Approximately 60,029 Utahans were unemployed in September 2002, a 17.3 percent increase from the 51,171 in September 2001, when the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.

Utah's second primary indicator of current labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, continued to post losses although the rate of decline slowed.

The number of Utah jobs in September dropped 17,500 or 1.6 percent compared to September 2001.

"Utah's job market largely remains in a catatonic state. This situation will persist until the fundamental imbalances in the national economy have stabilized," pointed out Austin Sargent, workforce services regional economist.

"Currently, we see little on the horizon that will stimulate a rapid improvement nationally and, as a result, we expect the job market to be sluggish. Through the rest of 2002, the unemployment rate in Utah will hover between 5 percent and 6 percent," predicted Sargent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for September 2002 registered at 5.6 percent. The figure is a slight decrease from the 5.7 percent jobless rate posted across the United States in August.

The number of unemployed Americans remained at 8.1 million last month.

U.S. non-farm employment continued its downward trend in September, falling 0.7 percent.

The nation's employment situation has been in decline since September 2001, however, the rate of decline has slowed as the recovery slowly creeps forward.

Utah economy continued its downward trend in September, though some slight improvement was evidenced compared to August figures, explained workforce services. Year-over losses were down 1.6 percent with 17,500 jobs cut.

Nationally, the market signals continued to be mixed and, until the data begin to show steady improvement Utah's economy will struggle to gain ground for the near term.

Utah's construction industry recorded the highest level of job losses among the state's major industries. The 68,600 workers in the construction industry represent a drop of 6,300 from a year ago, added the workforce services department.

Manufacturing, which employs more than 120,000 Utahns, lost 5,300 year-over jobs in September for a 4.2 percent decrease in employment positions.

Nationally, manufacturing has suffered through a three-year slump and Utah's industry has followed suit. But the rate of job decreases in the manufacturing sector has slowed significantly since the start of 2002, when more than 8,000 employment positions were lost.

Trade, Utah's second largest industry for employment with 246,200 workers, shed 5,000 jobs. Though consumer spending has been sustained during the present recession, much of the activity has been related to the purchase of big-ticket items, primarily automobiles and housing. The situation has left less disposable income available for other consumable items, particularly for luxury or high-end goods.

Utah's transportation/communications/utilities industry has also borne the brunt of the recession. In September, TCU shed 3,000 jobs, representing a year-over drop of 4.9 percent.

Communications, utilities and trucking have all experienced decreases in employment at locations across the state.

The bursting of the stock market bubble has started to take its toll on the finance/insurance/real estate sector as well. The year-over 1,000 jobs loss reported in September 2002 resulted in a 1.7 percent decline in employment opportunities in the sector, matching the decreases reported in July and exceeding thee August figures.

The health of the real estate market managed to prevent jobs in the sector from sliding in September.

Utah's services industry, the largest with 317,100 workers statewide, eked out 700 additional employment opportunities in September.

Personal services, amusement/recreation, management and health posted employment gains. Computer services continued the steady job loss trend in September.

The 2002-2003 school year represented a major factor in government expanding by 3,000 employment opportunities. Overall, federal and local governments accounted for the statewide increase in jobs.

State government employment opportunities declined in September 2002 as a result of budgetary belt tightening, concluded the Utah Department of Workforce Services.


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