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Front Page » June 7, 2005 » Local News » Carbon County registers expanding employment
Published 3,776 days ago

Carbon County registers expanding employment

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Carbon County posted 1.4 percent employment expansion in April. The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicated that 8,648 residents were working in Carbon County during April 2005, compared to 8,531 last year.

In March 2005, 8,582 residents occupied positions in the local labor force.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate registered at 4.9 percent in April. The statewide jobless level dipped 0.4 percentage points from last year's 5.3 percent unemployment. Approximately 60,700 Utahns were unemployed in April 2005, compared to 63,000 in 2004.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, moderated slightly in April, posting 3.5 percent growth.

"Utah's economic environment remains robust. Job growth is occurring in all industrial sectors, and the pace of growth statewide is still commendable. April's job growth has moderated just a bit, but that shouldn't be a surprise. Higher energy costs always have a dampening effect upon the economy," noted workforce services director Tani Pack Downing.

Since April 2004, the United States economy has added 2.2 million jobs nationwide for a growth rate of 1.7 percent. The Utah economy has added approximately 38,000 employment opportunities for a growth rate of 3.5 percent. The Utah additions represent approximately 1.7 percent of the positions created nationwide during the last year.

In Utah, all industrial sectors experienced expanding employment in the one-year period. Professional and business services developed 7,300 positions statewide. Following the trade sector, transportation and utilities added 6,900 jobs. Utah's job creation remains diverse and widespread.

"We are currently enjoying a very positive economic environment in Utah. The Utah economy has rebounded strongly since the slow economic environment of the early 2000s. Population growth is largely driving this economic surge. The business cycle fluctuates up and down, and factors like high energy costs, stock market movements or changing interest rates can move this cycle one way or the other. But over the long run, the economic consequences of population gains eventually override the short-term fluctuations found in the business cycle," pointed out DWS senior economist Mark Knold

"Utah's strong surge coming out of the past recession is as much long-term economic pressures tied to population growth exerting influence as it is a short-term good period within the business cycle. We are seeing in our neighboring western states, as here in Utah, where strong population gains continued even while the U.S. economy was going through the sharp technology correction that characterized the last recession. The South and West are the key economic expansion zones within the country not only currently, but also looking forward over the next several decades. Population gains will be a powerful economic driver. On this playing field, Utah lies squarely within the economic development zone. I almost want to go so far as to say that long-term economic growth for Utah is guaranteed," continued Knowld.

During the last 50 years, Utah has averaged 3.3 percent employment expansion annually and ranks sixth out of all the states for job growth in the designated time period. Utah follows behind Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Florida and Colorado in the nationwide employment growth rankings.

"There is a dynamic here in the West that Utah is not only feeding off of, but contributing to. There is no reason to think this will change. Most of the rest of the country is getting older. Demographers tell us the younger generation coming behind is just not large enough to fill the void. Immigration will have to increase to close that gap. But that oftentimes comes with political resistance. Therefore, any state that has a large, young, indigenous population will be an economic magnet within that coming environment. The West and particularly Utah fit that bill. The strong family culture in the West is not something to economically ignore. It is young, dynamic, and growing. It is also self-perpetuating. That labor force will be an attractive target for the businesses of the future. It makes Utah's long-term economic picture look very good," explained Knold.

"But we can't forget that labor is mobile. Just because the labor force is here doesn't mean it has to stay here. Businesses can attract labor to them just as easily as they can move to the labor. Both scenarios can and will happen, but the latter will probably happen more than the former. That's why Utah's long-term picture looks bright," concluded the department of workforce services economist.

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