Sluggish economy persists in Carbon
The weakness exhibited in Carbon County's economy during the first three months of last year persisted into the second quarter of 2003.
Hit hard during the recent recession, the local manufacturing sector reported a year-over job loss of 142 positions, indicated the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Temporary help employment and jobs in leisure and hospitality were down, contributing to the sluggishness of the Carbon County economy.
For the second consecutive quarter, year-over employment growth has fallen in the county. Second quarter 2003 reported 3.5 percent fewer total jobs than in 2002.
A sharp downturn in manufacturing is the primary culprit and Carbon's unemployment rate continues to hover around 7 percent, pointed out the workforce services department.
During second quarter 2003, the goods producing and service producing sectors in Carbon County felt the pinch of job losses.
Total year-over employment in the local area dropped 3.5 percent or 320 jobs. Employment losses were most pronounced in manufacturing, which dropped 142 jobs
In addition, declines occurred in the local coal mining industry as well as wood, printing and fabricated metal products.
Construction jobs posted no change. Gains in residential and special trade building offset losses in heavy construction, explained workforce services.
Service producing industries in Carbon County experienced 149 lost jobs for a 2 percent decline.
The sector includes trade, transportation, information, lodging and food services.
The majority of the employment losses were in food services, accommodations and temporary help services.
A decline in public education positions also dropped Carbon County's employment for local government, said the department of workforce services.
While weak, other Carbon County industry sectors managed to remain relatively steady.
Real estate related jobs managed to post slight gains, as did health care and private education services.
Federal and state government employment also expanded slightly in the Carbon area.
Second quarter 2003 permit authorized construction activity in the local area followed the pattern set during the first quarter, noted the department of workforce services.
The county continued to experience rising residential activity and declining non-residential building.
The total valuation of construction fell 7 percent, primarily due to the lack of major commercial building in the Carbon County area.
However, the value of residential buildings in the county rose 25 percent, due primarily to a slight increase in single-family housing activity in the local area.
Non-residential building valuations dropped 20 percent in the county, reflecting the lack of major projects in the local area.
The valuation of renovations to residential and non-residential buildings in Carbon County also declined in the second quarter.
Gross taxable sales continued to slump at locations throughout the local area.
Year-over sales declined 14.2 percent in Carbon County second quarter 2003.
Mining sales fell 57 percent in Carbon County.
Sales for construction, transportation, electricity and gas also declined.
Retail sales were off 3.2 percent.
A drop in food store sales strongly influenced the decrease.
The retail sector accounts for 52 percent of all gross taxable sales in Carbon County
Local business services sales also tumbled in Carbon County during second quarter 2003.
Until the Utah and United States economies pick up steam, the outlook for more robust economic growth in Carbon County during 2004 remains low, indicated the department of workforce services.
Mining will continue to struggle and manufacturing is unlikely to improve in the near future, predicted the state workforce agency.
However, recreation related job opportunities should stabilize and help ease the downward trend in the Carbon County economy, concluded the workforce services department.