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Front Page » February 21, 2002 » Local News » Workforce services department's report outlines state, na...
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Workforce services department's report outlines state, national economic trends

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In January, Utah's unemployment rate measured 5.2 percent, down from last December's5.9 percent.

Statewide layoffs appear to be the major factor contributing to December's high jobless rate.

Temporary hiring for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games evidently reduced the number of unemployed Utahns, which fell from 66,000 in December to January' s 59,000 in January.

Nevertheless, the current number of unemployed residents in the state is 50 percent greater than the 39,800 estimated for January 2001, when the rate was 3.6 percent, points out the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over rate of change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, plummeted during 2001.

Employment expansion drop-ped from 2.4 percent in January 2001 to -1.5 percent in December 2001.

On Feb. 9, the four-week average of initial unemployment insurance claims registered at 2,297. The figure represents a decline of 2.5 percent from the 2,357 claims filed last year.

In mid-December 2001, Utah's insured unemployed numbered 23,341, a 76 percent leap above December 2000's 13,259.

In 2000, 63.8 percent of the unemployed Utahns were males. Last year, 67.4 percent were males.

Whites experienced a small relative increase, climbing from 82.7 percent to 83.5 percent.

However, Asians-Pacific Islanders were hardest hit, going from 2.0 percent to 3.1 percent .

Conversely, Utah Hispanics' ratio dropped from 10.1 percent to 9.2 percent.

Utahns ages 45 to 59 years old have been impacted to a greater extent than younger workers. In December 2000, the group comprised 25.1 percent of the statewide unemployment total.

By December 2001, older workers accounted for 27.1 percent of the unemployed.

The unemployment ration for Utah's manufacturing industry workers jumped from 12.6 percent to 18.2 percent.

At the same time, the ratio for construction workers slipped from 22.6 percent to 18.8 percent.

Hit harder than any group, joblessness in Utah's white-collar occupations increased from 16.3 percent to 18.1 percent of the insured unemployed during the last 12 months. Concurrently, service occupations decreased from 8.8 percent to 6.9 percent.

On the national scene, unemployment insurance claims dipped for the second week in a row, reaching a level that suggests companies may be easing layoffs as signs of an economic recovery mount, indicated workforce services.

For the week ending Feb. 9, the United States Labor Department reported that claims for jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to 373,000, the lowest level since Jan. 19.

Wholesale inventories fell nationwide for a seventh consecutive month in December even as sales declined, an indication that efforts to reduce stocks are succeeding. Inventories have decreased since June 2001 and last December's level was the lowest reported since January 2000.

Wholesale inflation edged up 0.1 percent in January reflecting higher prices for gasoline, cars and food products. Excluding energy and food prices, the core rate of inflation fell by 0.1 percent in January, after remaining flat in December.

Employment of Americans ages 16 to 24 dropped by 1.092 million in 2001, according to a report compiled by Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies. Last September and October, young people suffered 95 percent of all job losses in the U.S.

The percent of foreign-born residents in the U.S. increased to 10.4 percent from 7.9 percent between 1990 and 2000, with gains coming in all regions. Labor shortages during the booming 1990s caused newer arrivals to disperse throughout the country. Rocky Mountain states experienced the sharpest growth related to immigrants.

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