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Front Page » July 21, 2005 » Local News » Carbon continues to register expanding employment levels
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Carbon continues to register expanding employment levels

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Carbon County continued to experience an expanding employment level in June.

The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate Carbon County concluded last month with a 2.4 percent job growth rate.

In June 2004, the county reported 8,865 non-farm employment opportunities.

By comparison, the number of jobs counted in Carbon registered at 8,733 in May 2005 and 8,654 in June 2004 respectively.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate for June registered 4.7 percent, down 0.6 percentage points from the unemployment rate of 5.3 percent registered a year ago in June 2004.

Approximately 57,800 Utahns were unemployed in June 2005 as compared to 63,700 in June 2004. May's unemployment rate registered at 4.9 percent

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, registered 3.3 percent.

"Utah's economy continues to grow," noted DWS senior economist Mark Knold. "Employment growth reached a peak of 3.9 percent in March and has since leveled off and is sitting in the 3.3 to 3.5 percent range for several months now. Higher energy prices appear to have slowed the upward climb of Utah's employment growth."

"The economy continues to grow, it's just that the rate of growth is slowing. Will the rate of growth pick back up again? Probably not until energy prices stabilize and the stock market accepts oil around $50 a barrel.In other words, probably not until next year," pointed out Knold. "Look for the economy to hold what we currently have for the remainder of this year."

Since June 2004, the United States economy has added 2.2 million employment opportunities for an expansion rate of 1.7 percent.

Utah's economy added approximately 36,500 new jobs, a growth rate of 3.3 percent.

The Utah additions represent about 1.7 percent of all the emploment opportunities created natiowide in the last year.

All industrial sectors in Utah contributed to the June job count, noted the department of workforce services senior economist.

However, two sectors accounted for 40 percent of the statewide employment expansion. The employment sectors in question are professional-business services and construction.

Professional and business services added 7,600 positions during the last year.

As a whole, the sector pays about 14 percent higher than the average Utah wage, according to the department of workforce services.

Some of the business services jobs are temporary help and placement type positions.

But a significant proportion are professional education-based, high paying service jobs.

The portion measures average wages around 55 percent higher than the overall Utah average.

Knold commented about the return of these higher-paying jobs. "If we look back at the recession of the early 2000s, we will see that it was in industrial sectors that paid higher than the Utah average for all industries where the job losses occurred. Employment counts actually increased in lower-paying jobs. They were largely unaffected by the recession. Within the past year

though, we have seen a rebound in Utah's higher-paying jobs. Lower paying jobs still continue to increase so the percentage disparity that developed because of the recession remains. Before the recession, there was an equality between the number of high paying and low paying jobs. Now there is a 4 percentage point tilt toward lower paying jobs. The good news is

higher paying jobs are on the rise, and given time, this minor disparity should moderate."

Construction added 6,900 new jobs over the past year. That's a growth rate of 9.1 percent and extends for over a year now the large percentage growth rates that have emerged in this industry. Growth rates moved into the 7- to 12-percent growth range in the early part of 2004, and are now 15 months strong and still going.

Knold commented about the construction industry, "A vibrant construction industry is a reflection of a healthy economy. Home building, commercial building, warehouse building, and heavy construction projects are expanding and contributing to the strong employment gains. Home building leads the way, with ground broken on large numbers of new homes throughout Utah's metropolitan areas. Booms are occurring in St. George, Washington, Lehi, West Jordan, South Jordan, Draper, Herriman, Clinton and Syracuse. These are hot pockets, but new home construction is occurring all over the state. This activity not only gives rise to the need for more framers, carpenters and roofers, but also plumbers, electricians, heating and air conditioning specialists, concrete workers and excavators. Construction employment in Utah is at levels never seen before."

The remainder of the industrial sectors are adding new Utah jobs at varying rates. None of them seems to be trending toward a slowdown. Most are holding steady with month-after-month consistent levels of employment gains.

For example, the education and health sector has been showing consistent year-over gains of around 3,500 to 4,000 new positions. The level remains constant month after month. The sector has consistently done well, even throughout the recession years of the early 2000s.

Most other sectors only started adding jobs again in late 2003 or early 2004. Employment levels increased throughout 2004 into 2005, but lately the pace of employment gains have peaked and gains are remaining steady. Manufacturing employment maintained a positive position, adding around 2,500 new jobs in the last year. That's welcome news considering the nearly seven-year decline that was observed in that sector beginning back in 1997.

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