Unemployment dips in county
Carbon County experienced slightly declining unemployment last month.
Joblessness in the local area registered at 7.5 percent in July, declining from the 7.8 percent unemployment rate recorded by the county during June 2003.
By comparison, Carbon County reported a 6.6 percent jobless rate in June 2002
At the state level, the unemployment rate registered 5.2 percent and approximately 63,100 Utahns were unemployed in July 2003.
Last year, the state recorded a 6.1 percent jobless rate in July, with 71,700 unemployed Utahns.
"No change this month in the unemployment rate. Largely, no change at all in the Utah economy. The economic turning point is still a future event," noted Mark Knold.
The workforce services economist noted that the state also posted a 5.2 percent jobless rate in June.
Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, dropped slightly to -0.3 percent.
The non-farm employment statistic has stalled in the last two months after trending upward earlier in the year, according to workforce services.
The upward trend gave the department of workforce services hope that Utah's employment growth would cross the zero-percent threshold by July, explained the DWS economist.
But the anticipated job expansion has not materialized and the state's employment count stands at 1,059,400.
"The economic spark still has not ignited. Even when it does, it will probably be very subtle. July's numbers are consistent with workforce services' expectations. We expected economic stops and starts as this year progressed. July is one of those stops," explained Raylene Ireland, DWS director.
Nationally, the unemployment rate edged slightly downward to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent experienced across the United States in June.
The number of unemployed Americans registered at 9.1 million last month.
In July, the number of displaced U.S. workers seeking employment for less than five weeks decreased by 279,000.
However, two million jobless Americans had been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, representing 21.7 percent of the total unemployed individuals in the U.S.
The job picture remained constant nationwide at -0.3 percent in June and July, added the department of workforce services.
The U.S. has posted a negative employment count since 2001, placing the nation's latest job skid at two years.
In July 2003, 129.6 million Americans residing at locations throughout the nation were employed.
Utah and the nation are still experiencing the sluggish aftermath of the techonolgy boom of the 1990s
The boom was primarily built upon inflated expectations and, in some cases, inaccurate accounting, indicated the department of workforce services.
Utah faces an ongoing employment challenge created by a unique, but strong factor contributing to the state's economic downturn, noted DWS.
Utah's population continues to steadily expand, but adequate job gains are not occurring to accommodate the statewide growth.
Nationally, the gross domestic product indicates that the U.S. economy started growing early last year.
The gross domestic product measures the dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States.
Therefore, the GDP number can rise because fewer workers are producing more goods and services.
In the long run, the situation may benefit the overall economy, but production inefficiencies tend to create increased employment opportunities, noted the department of workforce services.
Since early 2002, quarterly gross domestic product data have hovered between 1 percent and 2 percent growth.
But the productivity gains have registered at 3 percent or greater across the U.S., outpacing GDP growth and providing little incentive for businesses to hire additional employees.
One Utah sector starting to show signs of reviving employment opportunities encompasses the professional, technical and scientific businesses operating across the state.
The sector's strong point involves brain power or the education and research skills of the division's workforce is its strong point.
Examples of the businesses in question include biotechnology labs and research, accounting, architecture, engineering, industrial design and environmental consulting.
In addition, Utah's construction industry seems to have reached an equilibrium point.
Employment gains have not developed, but job losses in the construction industry have stopped, concluded the department of workforce services.