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Front Page » March 12, 2002 » Local News » Carbon unemployment rate continues to fluctuate
Published 4,955 days ago

Carbon unemployment rate continues to fluctuate

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Carbon County continued to experience a fluctuating unemployment rate in February.

Last month, joblessness in the county climbed to 5.9 percent from the 5.3 percent unemployment posted in January.

By comparison, Carbon County reported 6.1 percent joblessness locally during February 2001.

The unemployment rate in neighboring Emery County dropped from 10.9 percent in January to 9.3 percent in February. Emery County's jobless rate registered at 7.7 percent in February 2001.

Unemployment in the southeastern district remained relatively stable at 7.1 percent in February and 7.2 percent in January. The region posted a 6.5 percent jobless rate in February 2001.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate drifted up slightly to 5.3 percent in February from January's revised 5.2 percent.

"Claimants for unemployment insurance continue to increase. It thus appears that temporary hiring for the Winter Olympic Games prevented the number of unemployed from climbing even higher," noted Ken Jensen, Utah Department of Workforce Services senior economist. "Roughly 61,600 Utahns were unemployed, a 47 percent jump from the 41,900 estimated for February 2001, when the rate was 3.8 percent."

The year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs statewide constitutes Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions. DWS data indicate employment opportunities statewide decreased 0.3 percent for a loss of 3,500 jobs in February 2002.

The indicator plummeted last year, dropping from 2.4 percent employment expansion in January 2001 to a 1.5 percent loss in December 2001.

On the national scene, February's United States, the February 2002 unemployment rate, at 5.5 percent, is down one-tenth of a point.

The 1.0 percent year-over drop in the number of non-farm jobs in the U.S. continues to reflect the nation's economic slowdown, according to the Utah agency.

February is the fifth month in a row with a nationwide decrease in employment opportunities. The last time the U.S. lost jobs year-over was in 1992.

Interestingly, only 20 months ago, U.S. job growth was 2.7 percent, pointed out the department of workforce services.

Through most of 2001, construction represented a bright spot in Utah's dimming economy statewide.

But with the completion of many commercial projects, construction employment has dropped sharply.

At 61,500 employment positions in February 2002, construction has 3,000 or 5 percent fewer jobs than in February 2001.

The sector is at its lowest number since March 1998.

Temporary employment associated with the 2002 Olympic Games occurred largely in the services division, pointed out the department of workforce services.

Entertainment/recreational, business (security), and lodging services have all seen employment jumps in January and February. Thus, the division shows a net growth of 5,700 jobs for February year-over compared to December's net loss of 4, 600 jobs.

On the downside, computer-related business services experienced a year-over loss of 4,300 jobs. Other services industries throughout the state marked generally modest expansion, continued the workforce services department.

After relatively rapid growth during 2001 due to a large jump for a single employer, the finance/insurance/real estate industry group is settling down.

The sector's modest expansion of 500 jobs or 1 percent is welcome in the state economic climate.

The recession in Utah's manufacturing division persists, with a year-over loss of 8,100 jobs or 6.3 percent decrease.

Hardest hit are primary metals, fabricated metals/machinery/computers and transportation equipment.

The state's manufacturing group shows an aggregated year-over loss of 5,700 employment positions.

Utah's performance is similar to the United States manufacturing division's overall loss of 7.2 percent of the nationwide jobs February-to-February.

Olympics-related employment gains apparently benefited the Utah's trade division.

The trade sector's 0.5 percent loss of 1,200 jobs represents an improvement when compared to December's 6,900 employment decrease.

Employment cutbacks in the state's transportation industries, communications and the electric, gas and sanitary-services group have cumulated to a 1,600 job, 2.6 percent deficit during the last 12 months.

Total employment in mining has fallen by 100 jobs from the February 2001 level.

Other mining and quarrying - primarily oil and gas extraction - added 400 jobs.

The employment gain was offset by metal mining's 400 position loss. In addition, Utah's coal industry dropped 100 mining jobs. The division's current 7,600 employment total is near its all-time low and only a fraction of its 20,300 peak achieved in 1981.

Government employers in Utah have 4,300 more staff members, for an increase of 2.2 percent. The U.S. government's 5 percent, 1,600 job expansion is due to equivalent increases in defense installations and federal agencies in Utah.

State and local government aggregations grew by 1 percent and 2 percent respectively. State government added 400 positions and local government expanded by 2,300 jobs.

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