Jobless rate rising in Carbon County
Carbon County's unemployment climbed to 6.9 percent in November 2003, up from the 6.3 percent jobless rate posted in October.
By comparison, Carbon County reported a 7.9 percent unemployment rate in November 2002.
In neighboring Emery County, the jobless rate registered at 10.3 percent in November 2003, increasing from 9.4 percent in October.
By comparison, Emery County recorded a 10 percent jobless rate in November 2002.
At the regional level, the southeastern Utah district's unemployment rate increased to 7.7 percent in November from 7.4 percent in October 2003.
The southeastern district's jobless rate stood at 8.6 percent in November 2002.
At the state level, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged at 4.9 percent and approximately 59,700 Utahns were unemployed in November 2003.
Last year, 73,300 Utahns were jobless and the unemployment rate registered at 6.2 percent in November.
"There still isn't a significant enough forward movement in job growth to drive this rate down," indicated Mark Knold, senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
The state's second primary indicator of current labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, posted slight improvement.
For the first month during 2003, the state's labor market recorded employment growth in November, noted DWS. Employment was up 0.2 percent or 2,500 jobs compared to November 2002.
"Hopefully, this is the start of the trend we have been looking for. We need to see the employment situation in Utah go to the positive side of the ledger, and stay there," noted Raylene Ireland, DWS director.
At the national level, the jobless rate registered at 5.9 percent and 8.7 million American workers were unemployed in November 2003. Employment was down 0.2 percent nationwide compared to November 2002.
The gross domestic product has grown rapidly, but the expansion has not translated into employment gains. In November, 131.2 million jobs were reported nationwide. The U.S. employment deficit stood at 230,000 jobs, showing little change during the last five months.
At the state level, data compiled across Utah have painted a negative employment picture since September 2001. Statewide jobless figures registered at the zero line during one or two recent months, but November marks the first movement onto the positive side of the spectrum.
Based on the strength of the nation's current economic indicators, analysts do not expect Utah to slip back to the zero line or onto the negative side of the employment spectrum in the coming months.
One encouraging economic indicators is an upward movement in orders for manufactured goods. The industry has been in a multi-year slide and was the first to emerge as a sector with excessive production capacity. But orders in the industry have turned upward and analysts hope the increase will halt the prolonged trend of declining manufacturing employment.
Three of Utah's industrial sectors moved to the positive side of the employment ledger last month: professional-business services, information and leisure-hospitality.
The upswing in employment opportunities in the professional and business services is encouraging for two reasons, explained the department or workforce services.
First, the classification encompasses numerous well-paying, knowledge based occupations and represents a preferred growth area.
Second, the classification includes temporary help, one of the initial response areas within a newly expanding economy.
Many employers use temporary workers as the first option to meet the mounting demand for products, explained workforce services. An increase in the number of temporary help jobs frequently signals an economy starting on the road to recovery.
In addition, the return of the information sector to a positive role in the statewide employment situation is viewed as an encouraging barometer, pointed out DWS.
Data processing, web-related activities and telecommunications were some of the hard-hit, overbuilt industries that played a key role in moving the Utah and the entire U.S. economy into a recession, indicated workforce services.
The recent rebound in the area suggests the sector has shed or absorbed the excesses and the information industries appear to be gearing up to return to an employment expansion mode.
Education and health care constituted the best employment growth areas at locations throughout Utah during November 2003. In fact, labor shortages continue to exist in several health care occupations, concluded the department of workforce services.