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Front Page » April 27, 2006 » Local News » Carbon County reports employment expansion
Published 3,449 days ago

Carbon County reports employment expansion

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Carbon County continued to post an expanding employment rate in March.

Last month, 9,402 Carbon County residents occupied non-farm salary and wage jobs compared to 8,764 in March 2005.

The jump in the number of local employment opportunities represents a 7.3 percent job growth rate during the one-year period.

In addition to the March 2005 statistics, the latest 2005 data released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate that Carbon experienced significant employment expansion throughout last year.

The county posted a job growth rate of 4.4 percent, with Carbon's economy adding nearly 380 positions in the one-year period between 2004 and 2005.

"While employment growth has raced forward through much of 2005, it is important to remember that a portion of that increase is likely to be temporary. However, the recent surge in manufacturing jobs does bode well for the county and should be continued to be supported," explained Michael Hanni, DWS regional labor market economist.

"On another front, high energy prices should make the area's natural resources much more desirable in the coming year," pointed out Hanni.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate for March registered 3.4 percent, down from the 4.3 percent jobless rate reported in 2005.

Approximately 44,900 Utahns were unemployed in March 2006 compared to 54,500 last year.

February's statewide unemployment rate remained unrevised at 3.8 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 4.3 percent in March.

Employment growth remained in the mid 4 percent range, signaling consistency and sustainability in the economy statewide.

"Utah's employment picture is currently very bright. Jobs are expanding at a rate above our long-term average of 3.3 percent and there appears to be sustainability in the fundamentals that allowed us to arrive at this point," noted Mark Knold, workforce services economist,

"Population gains, joined with pent-up demand that developed in the first half of this decade, have propelled us to our current situation. Continued population gains have the ability to sustain us for several more years, especially if the overall U.S. economy remains on a positive footing," continued Knold.

Since March 2005, the United States' economy added 2.1 million jobs for a nationwide growth rate of 1.6 percent.

In the last year, Utah's economy generated approximately 48,500 employment opportunities for a growth rate of 4.3 percent.

The Utah additions represented about 2.3 percent of all jobs created in the U.S.

The nationwide unemployment rate registered at 4.7 percent in March.

As has been the case throughout most of Utah's current economic expansion, all industrial sectors contributed to employment growth.

The expansions ranged from a high of 11,400 positions in the last year in the professional and business services sector to 900 jobs in the small category labeled "other services," explained the DWS senior economist.

With Utah's economy growing at nearly three times the national average, the latest department of workforce services report reviewed particulars of the contrast.

Although the national growth rate is not particularly high, it is experiencing growth in all industrial sectors, with the exception of manufacturing.

Manufacturing measured a small nationwide decline, while the sector grew by 2.1 percent in Utah.

Expansion in Utah's industries out-performed the pace of growth in all national sectors except for leisure and hospitality.

The leisure and hospitality sector expanded in the past year at a 2.1 percent rate in Utah, while growing 2.3 percent nationally.

The state's natural resources and construction industries represent the two fastest growing sectors in Utah, pointed out Knold.

The natural resources construction sectors are also the fastest growing labor market categories nationally, although the U.S. expansion rates are significantly lower than Utah's.

Natural resources employment growth is being driven by the oil and gas industry in Utah and nationally.

In Utah, the number of natural resources employment opportunities expanded by 16.6 percent in last 12-month period, said the DWS senior economist.

But natural resources are the smallest of Utah's 11 measured industrial sectors and the growth translates into an increase of 1,300 jobs in the industry statewide.

On the other hand, construction is a larger sector in Utah. The industry's 12.3 percent expansion rate translates into a 9,100 job increase statewide in the last 12 months, indicated the department of workforce services senior economist.

Construction has been a key contributor to Utah's statewide economic and employment growth during the last two years.

A housing boom has been the one of the primary sources of the growth, according to the latest DWS economic and labor market report.

While the national housing picture appears to be showing signs of slowing, the trend should not apply in Utah, commented Knold.

Utah's ongoing population growth supports continued demand and sensibly priced housing has kept the cost-to-income ratio affordable throughout the majority of the state.

The professional and business services sector consists of around 150,700 jobs in Utah or 13 percent of the state's total employment base, pointed out the department of workforce services.

Nationally, the professional and business services sector also represents 13 percent of all employment and expanded by 2.8 percent in the past year.

In Utah, the professional and business services grew by 8 percent.

The sector's expansion was distributed nearly equally in the high paying professional and technical industry and the flexible employment temporary help category.

In the past year, the professional and business services industry has managed to add 11,400 jobs statewide since March 2005.

In addition, Utah's economy generated 7,900 employment opportunities in trade, transportation and utilities for a statewide growth rate of 3.6 percent.

Utah's growth rate exceeded the 1.1 percent level posted in the trade, transportation and utilities sector nationwide.

Wholesale and retail trade accounted for the majority of the trade, transportation and utilities job growth experienced statewide.

The industry represents the most direct avenue and conduit for tracking consumer spending, indicated the department of workforce services.

Therefore, the trade aspect of the industry is population sensitive. Trade primarily grows in direct response to expanding local and statewide population levels.

With Utah's population growing at one of the fastest rates in the nation, employment in the trade industry is expected to be higher in the state than nationally, noted the department of workforce services senior economist.

One of the primary differences in Utah is the state's manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing continued to add employment opportunities at locations across Utah during the 12-month period from March 2005 to March 2006, but the sector shed jobs at the national level.

Utah's economy created 2,400 employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector during the last year for a statewide growth rate of 2.1 percent, concluded the latest department of workforce services economic and labor market report.

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