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Front Page » September 1, 2005 » Local News » Carbon County economy continues to generate employment ex...
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Carbon County economy continues to generate employment expansion

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Carbon County continued to post expanding employment levels in July.

The latest Utah Department of Workforces Services data indicate the local economy created approximately 250 job opportunities during the one-year period between July 2005 and July 2004.

Last month, Carbon County reported 8,540 employment opportunites compared to the 8,286 job level experienced in the local area in July 2004.

At the state level, Utah's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July registered at 4.7 percent.

Joblessness dropped 0.6 percentage points statewide from last year's 5.3 percent unemployment rate. Approximately 57,800 Utahns were jobless in July 2005 compared to 63,400 in July 2004.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, registered at 3.5 percent.

The July statewide employment level represents a slight upward movement from the growth rates observed during the past several months.

"The energy price run-up threw a strong punch at the Utah economy and the economy stood up to it pretty well. Higher energy prices did have the affect of keeping our growth rate from moving up into the 4 percent range, which seemed to be where our momentum was going to carry us. Though we didn't make it over 4 percent in employment growth, the economy is able to hold its own and not lose ground in the face of these significant energy increases. That's a testament to the current force of Utah's economic expansion. It makes you wonder where we would have gone if energy prices had not risen," commented Mark Knold, DWS economist.

Since July 2004, the United States economy added 2.1 million new jobs for a growth rate of 1.6 percent. Utah's economy created approximately 37,900 employment opportunities for a growth rate of 3.5 percent. The Utah additions represent approximately 1.8 percent of all jobs created at locations across the U.S. in the the last year.

Utah's employment expansion continues to be witnessed in all industries, indicated the department of workforce services. Employment gains ranged from 500 positions in the natural resources classification to 8,800 jobs in professional and business services.

Nearly 70 percent of all the new jobs are attributed to four sectors - professional and business, construction, trade-transportation-utilities and education-health services.

Construction added 6,700 new jobs over the past year. That's a growth rate of 7.3 percent. Strong employment growth has been observed in this sector for well over a year now. Housing activity remains the key driver, and it doesn't appear to be giving any indication of slowing down. Housing activity has been going strong in Utah for several years. The interesting part is that it has only been within the past six to twelve months that Utah has seen any kind of noticeable housing price appreciation, unlike some of the significant and multi-year gains seen in some other metropolitan markets in this country.

Non-residential construction has also been doing well. Its momentum began in 2004 and has carried nicely into 2005. It's a good reflection upon the business community's bullish outlook toward the Utah market. There are major projects underway and there are others yet to begin.

Since last July, the trade-transportation-utilities sector has added 6,500 new jobs. This is the largest employment sector in the state, standing at around 225,400 jobs, which is close to 20 percent of Utah's non-farm employment total. Retail trade is the largest segment within the sector, employing around 135,700 workers. About 3,000 new retail trade jobs have developed over the last year.

The education and health services sector continues to grow. This sector was one of only three that did not experience an employment contraction during Utah's early 2000s recession. Jobs continue to be added, particularly on the health care side. Around 4,300 new jobs have been added over the past year. Hospitals, nursing and residential facilities, doctors' offices, social assistance. You name it in the health care industry. It has been adding new workers. Manufacturing is a sector that people seem to focus upon. It was the backbone of the industrial economy that many of us grew up with, so there is still much attention cast its way. Fortunately, here in Utah, this sector is growing. Over the past year, roughly 2,000 new jobs have been added. This industry employs close to 118,000 workers in Utah. Manufacturing accounts for around 10 percent of all Utah employment, but this percentage is down from 13 percent seen five to ten years ago.

Utah's remaining industrial sectors have added new jobs over the past year. This ranges from 2,900 new jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, to 500 each in natural resources and other services.

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