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Front Page » February 11, 2003 » Local News » Planning commission amends conditional use permit options
Published 4,620 days ago

Planning commission amends conditional use permit options

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Carbon County's population continues to experience significant ups and downs.

At the end of the 1980s energy boom, Carbon County saw population fall by 9 percent. The local population recovered slightly in the 1990s, growing by 2 percent.

Carbon posted the slowest population expansion of all Utah's counties during the last decade, but the profile compiled by the department of workforce services forecasts gradual growth through 2005.

Carbon County's population profile shows an older population than Utah average, but close to the U.S. average. Carbon County's 20 to 44 year-old population percentage is significantly below that for the U.S. and Utah's percentage.

The older population percentages are near or slightly above the U.S. average and substantially higher than those in Utah statewide.

Slow economic growth has forced many people in the prime labor force years of 20 to 44 to leave the area to seek employment opportunities. Migration patterns largely mirror the economic performance within the county.

The 1970s reflected a period of intense growth due to the energy boom, which induced a period of consistently strong in-migration.

The collapse of the energy industry during the 1980s resulted in an outflow of people. Economic growth slowly improved in the 1990s as Carbon County's economy diversified and as natural resource based activity started to recover.

Note that this is just the migration component of total population. Carbon County's population has grown historically due to the natural increase of births minus deaths component.

The migration component affects growth by either increasing or decreasing the speed with which the overall population increases.

Carbon County's employment has experienced unusual ups and downs during the last 30 years.

The early 1970s was a period of strong growth fueled by the demand for natural resources, but the 1980s saw a decline in employment as the energy boom abated and technology changed the production for coal.

In the 1990s, employment slowly expanded as the economy diversified and as coal extraction activity resumed. During the last decade, Carbon County's economy managed to become more diversified. The trade and services sectors accounted for the majority of the growth. Trade and services tend to have lower wages. Conversely, mining employment has paid higher than average wages, but the coal industry witnessed its share of the local economic pie shrink

Three industries account for nearly 75 percent of employment in Carbon County.

Government tops the list due to the presence of the College of Eastern Utah. Carbon also has a significant trade industry and is a center for retail activity for neighboring counties. Finally the highly diverse services industry grew in importance during the decade of the 1990s.

In the last 10 years, mining, which once dominated the economy of the county, has seen its share of employment shrink. Nevertheless, mining employment in Carbon County is higher than that of the state as a whole.

Mining and government industries continue to dominate in Carbon County, providing 41 percent of the local area's total wages.

Carbon's average monthly wage is slightly below the Utah statewide average. During the 1990s the disparity increased. The situation reflects the major trends in the county's economy. The average monthly wage is 92 percent of the state average of $2,469.

Wages in the mining industry remain an important component of Carbon County's economy, even though employment in services, trade and government are substantially higher.

Wages are just part of the income picture, explains workforce services. Additional income sources are high dividends/interest/rents and transfer payments.

Higher paying dividends/interest/rents provide a lower percentage of income in Carbon County than in many others. Transfer payments are generally fixed, lower sustenance sources of income rather than generators of wealth. Examples include Social Security payments, disability and welfare.

Carbon County's 20 percent dependance on transfer payments doubles the reliance rate reported statewide. Correspondingly, wages are relatively less important.

At the low-income levels, Carbon County's income tax percentage is higher than the state.

As local incomes climb up the ladder, the percentage is near the state average. That is true except at the highest levels where it is below the state average.

Carbon County witnessed erratic construction activity throughout the 1990s. Non-residential valuation dominated the local picture. However, residential valuation shot up in 1998 and 1999.

Repairs valuation grew consistently in the decade, though it is usually smaller than residential or non-residential construction values.

Authorized residential dwelling unit numbers climbed throughout the 1990s. Dramatic growth occurred in 1998-1999. Large construction projects attracted workers seeking housing in the county

As a component of permit authorized residential building activity, manufactured housing units dominated the counties growth.

Authorization of single-family units has been erratic. Multi-family units are rare, usually built only in the Price area.

Retail trade represents the major point of monetary interaction in Carbon County's consumer driven economy. Department stores are the leader in sales, reflecting Carbon County's role as a retail center.

Food stores and motor vehicle sales also capture large portions of the consumer dollar.

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