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Front Page » April 11, 2002 » Local News » Carbon posts climbing unemployment
Published 4,929 days ago

Carbon posts climbing unemployment

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Carbon County's unemployment rate climbed to 6.4 percent in March, up significantly from the 5.9 percent joblessness reported in February.

In addition, Carbon's 2002 unemployment rate exceeds the 6.3 percent joblessness experienced by the county during March 2001.

In neighboring Emery County, the jobless rate edged up to 9.7 percent in March from 9.6 percent in February.

In March 2001, Emery County witnessed 9.2 percent joblessness.

At the regional level, the southeastern district reported climbing unemployment in March 2002.

The regional jobless rate registered at 7.9 percent in March, up from 7.4 percent in February.

However, unemployment in the southeastern district decreased from the 8.4 percent jobless rate reported in March 2001.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate jumped from 5.5 percent in February to 5.9 percent in March 2002.

The last time joblessness in Utah registered at as high a level was in 1987.

"Layoffs continue to swell the ranks of the unemployed," noted Ken Jensen, senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. "In fact, the tally of claimants for state unemployment compensation made a very unusual increase from February to March."

"This phenomenon may be linked to layoffs of temporary workers associated with the Olympic Winter Games," added the DWS economist.

Approximately 68,900 Utahns were unemployed at locations across the state in March 2002. The number represents a 53 percent jump from the 45,100 unemployed Utahns reported in March 2001, when the statewide jobless rate was 4.0 percent.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, showed a loss of 1.4 percent or 15,600 positions for March 2002.

The indicator plummeted during 2001, dropping from 2.4 percent growth in January 2001 to a 1.5 percent loss in December 2001.

Temporary hiring for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games moderated the losses in January and February.

A clearer picture of the impact of the recession in Utah is reflected in the March data, pointed out workforce services.

The last time Utah suffered year-over job losses was in 1982.

On the national scene, the unemployment rate in the United States registered at 5.7 percent in March 2002. The figure is up two-tenths of a point from February's nationwide jobless total.

But joblessness in the U.S. remained slightly lower than the 5.8 percent rate posted nationwide in December 2001.

In December 2001 and March 2002, Utah's unemployment exceeded the respective U.S. rate.

The last time the crossover occurred was in 1987.

The 1 percent year-over drop in the total U.S. non-farm jobs continues to reflect the nation's economic slowdown.

The last time the U.S. lost employment positions year-over was in 1992.

One positive observation from the U.S. data is that the seasonally adjusted monthly total employment increased by 58,000 jobs, the first month-over gain since July 2001, indicated workforce services.

Utah's total non-farm employment can be disaggregated into two categories: private or non-government and public.

From March 2001 to March 2002, the private sector has witnessed a net 2 percent loss of 18,000 jobs.

The decrease was partially offset by a gain of 2,400 government employment positions.

The anticipated drop in construction employment in Utah is underway. After a surprisingly active autumn, the losses started in December 2001. March 2002 had 5,600 fewer construction jobs than in March 2001, for an 8.5 percent decrease.

The temporary employment flurry associated with the Olympic Winter Games had all but abated by March, pointed out workforce services.

Utah's services division, the focal point of much of the related activity, had nearly returned to more normal pursuits.

Nevertheless, the current year-over net 0.5 percent expansion of 1,500 employment opportunities in the services sector still reflects some 2002 Winter Games-related jobs.

The recession-based downturn in Utah's business services has ended. The downturn cost Utah about 4,000 jobs and recovery will be gradual at best, according to workforce services. The less volatile services, such as medical, educational and legal, are making moderate employment gains.

The finance/insurance/real estate industry group shows net growth of only 200 jobs.

Depository institutions' 200 job loss is offset by modest expansion in the remainder of the division.

The recession in Utah's manufacturing division persisted in March, continued workforce services.

Manufacturing posted a year-over 6.5 percent loss of 8,400 positions statewide. Hardest-hit are primary metals, fabricated metals/machinery/computers and transportation equipment, which show an aggregated year-over decrease of 5,500 jobs.

Utah's performance is similar to the U.S. manufacturing division's loss of 7.0 percent of its jobs from March to March.

Most industries in Utah's consolidated wholesale plus retail trade division reported year-over employment cutbacks, resulting in 3,300 or 1.3 percent fewer jobs statewide than a year-ago.

Only motor-vehicle-related businesses, in aggregate, have experienced growth.

Employment cutbacks in the land transportation industries, communications and the electric, gas and sanitary services group have cumulated to a 2,100 job, 3.5 percent deficit during the last 12 months. Air transportation's 400 employment opportunity gain is the only bright spot.

Employment in Utah's mining division has fallen by 300 jobs from the March 2001 level.

Other mining and quarrying, primarily oil and gas extraction, added 200 positions across the state. However, Utah's metal and coal production operations dropped 400 and 100 jobs respectively.

The mining division's current 7,500 employment total, an all-time low, is only a fraction of the 20,300 peak achieved in 1981.

Government employers in Utah have 2,400 more staff members than a year ago, an increase of 1.3 percent.

The federal government's 1.8 percent, 600 job expansion is largely due to increases at defense installations.

Utah government's budget woes are a impacting state employment -higher education made small year-over gains, while other agencies lost 900 positions.

A net loss of nearly a percentage point is the result, explained the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Local government maintained a moderate growth pace by adding 2,300 employment positions. Local government's 2.3 percent expansion rate is weighted toward non-education activities.

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