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Front Page » August 3, 2004 » Local News » Unemployment rate climbing in Carbon County, southeast di...
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Unemployment rate climbing in Carbon County, southeast district

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Unemployment in Carbon County climbed last month, registering at 6.6 percent in June compared to the 5.9 percent jobless rate reported in the local area in May 2004.

In June 2003, Carbon County experienced an 8.3 percent unemployment rate.

In neighboring Emery County, joblessness increased from 9 percent in May to 9.5 percent in June 2003.

Emery County posted an 11 percent unemployment rate in June 2003.

At the district level, the southeastern region posted 8.1 percent and 7.6 percent unemployment rates in June and May 2004 respectively.

Joblessness in the district stood at 8.9 percent in June 2003.

The southeastern region encompasses Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate registered at 4.7 percent in June, essentially unchanged from May's 4.6 percent rate.

Approximately 56,300 Utahns were unemployed in June 2004. Last June, 65,700 Utahns were unemployed when the statewide jobless rate stood at 5.6 percent.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, moved upward to 1.9 percent for 20,900 more jobs compared to June 2003.

"This year is developing pretty much as we had anticipated. Employment growth is increasing, but at a measured pace," pointed out Raylene Ireland, Utah Department of Workforce Services director. "The foundation still seems to be in place for continued growth as the year progresses, with some short-term variations."

Employment expansion moved upward statewide, climbing from 1.6 percent in May to 1.9 percent in June 2004. There are encouraging factors in the foundation of the expansion, according to the department of workforce services.

One is the fact that professional and business services represent the strongest growth area in Utah. The sector added more than 7,200 employment opportunities statewide compared to June 2003 for a growth rate of 5.5 percent.

Approximately 3,400 of the positions were in employment services - firms supplying temporary or part-time workers to other businesses. Many of the remaining 3,800 jobs were in the high-paying professional areas, including legal fields, architecture, engineering, drafting, surveying, testing labs, industrial design and/or computers systems design as well as programming.

"Additional information shows us that the Utah economy grew at a slightly stronger pace in the first quarter of this year than was earlier forecast," noted Mark Knold, DWS senior economist. "March was a particularly strong month, but there were some seasonal factors at work, such as a strong ski season. But that was also when the U.S. economy woke up and that awakening seemed to have given Utah an additional boost. The energy price spike in June may produce a dampening effect upon the third quarter, but it was short-lived and we can't say dogmatically that it will slow the economy."

An industry that had been dormant for the last three years, construction started adding jobs across the state in June 2004, pointed out the department of workforce services. Year-over employment in the sector was up by 2,600 positions or 3.8 percent.

Expansion creates a building economy and the construction industry can act as the canary-in-the-cage to signal the change, indicated the workforce services.

Education and health care continued to remain an important component in Utah's expanding economy in June 2004.

The industry added approximately 3,500 jobs in the 12- month period ending in June 2004, a level of growth the sector has been fairly consistent in achieving during the last three years, noted workforce services.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector is another growth area, with 3,400 new jobs observed in the industry statewide. Like construction, the sector had been dormant for the three years. But the presence of an expanding economy is creating new employment opportunities within its sphere.

The retail trade arena added approximately 2,200 new positions at locations throughout Utah. The transportation sector is also growing with new jobs in the trucking industry and air transportation.

Only Utah's information sector remained in a statewide employment decline in June 2004. But the information industry appears to be on the verge of swinging toward employment growth.

However, Utah's information industry has not completely shaken off the sharp downturn the sector suffered in the recession. But by next year, the industry may witness a new reinvestment cycle emerge, concluded the department of workforce services.

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