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Front Page » February 28, 2006 » Local News » Carbon County continuing to post economic, labor market e...
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Carbon County continuing to post economic, labor market expansion

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Carbon County continued to experience an expanding labor market and recovering economy in January.

The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate Carbon's economy created approximately 500 employment opportunities during the 12-month period between January 2006 and January 2005.

Last month, Carbon County reported 9,070 non-farm wage and salaried jobs for a 6 percent growth rate compared to the 8,558 positions in the local labor market positions in January 2005.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate for January registered at 3.7 percent, down from the 4.9 percent joblessness reported statewide last year.

Approximately 46,300 Utahns were unemployed last month compared to 59,000 in January 2005.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, registered 4.8 percent.

"The economy generally moves in a methodical way. Whether up or down, it rarely takes large leaps in the process. But that's not to say it can't or that it doesn't. The hardest part of an economist's job is anticipating these strong jumps," explained Mark Knold, department of workforce services economist.

"During the third quarter of 2005, the Utah economy experienced one of these jumps. After operating in the mid 3 percent employment growth range for the first half of 2005, the Utah economy unexpectedly jumped upward during last year's third quarter. Employment growth went from 3.6 percent in June to 4.6 percent by September, a movement upward of one percentage point in just three months," continued Knold.

"The most surprising aspect is that the economy did this in the face of last year's gas price run up, an action that was thought would be a slowing mechanism upon the economy. It did cause a slowing at the national level, but not here in Utah. The bottom line is that, with this increase that developed by September of last year, our current employment forecasts needed to be adjusted up," pointed out the department of workforce services economist.

At the national level, the United States economy has added 2.1 million jobs since January 2005 for a nationwide growth rate of 1.6 percent. In the last year, Utah's economy created approximately 52,700 employment opportunities for an expansion rate of 4.8 percent. The Utah additions represent about 2.5 percent of all the jobs added across the U.S.

The nation's unemployment rate continued to move downward, falling to 4.7 percent last month.

In Utah, all industrial sectors contributing to the employment growth during the 12-month period between January 2005 and 2006. The professional and business services sector led the statewide expansion by creating 11,700 jobs.

Building activity continued at a brisk pace in Utah in January. In response, the construction industry is clamoring for additional workers. Forecasts estimate that the construction industry has added approximately 9,000 jobs to payrolls in the past year and companies speak of plenty a shortage of labor to do complete projects statewide.

A recently released job vacancy study by the department of workforce services shows that the average hourly advertised wage reported by construction businesses during fourth quarter 2005 was $16.30. One-year prior, the advertised wage was $12.10.

Thousands of additional jobs are being created across Utah's other industrial sectors. Close to 8,200 employment opportunities were recorded in the trade, transportation and utilities sector in the last 12-month period..

Education and health services contributed an additional 5,500 positions, continuing the sector's consistent positive performance within the Utah economy, concluded the department of workforce services

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