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Carbon experiences dipping jobless rate

Along with managing to maintain slightly expanding employment levels, Carbon County has started to witness declining jobless rate.

The latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services indicate that Carbon's jobless rate registered at 4.2 percent in October.

The October unemployment level represented a decrease from the 4.6 percent jobless rate posted by the county in September.

By comparison, Carbon County reported a 4.4 unemployment rate in October 2007.

But for the first time since 2003, Utah's economy is coping with year-over-year job losses, dashing hopes that the state could remain insulated from the nation's economic crisis, noted the department of workforce services' December Trendlines publication.

In one of the most challenging jobs reports in years, Utah lost 2,200 jobs in the year ending in October, pushing total employment down 0.2 percent to 1.3 million statewide, explained the DWS publication.

Nationally, job losses totaled 0.9 percent in the year that ended in October.

Economic reality appears to have caught up to Utah, slowing the number of people moving into the state and the total population growth, continued the department of workforce services.

Nevertheless, the total number of Utahns residing at locations throughout the state climbed to nearly 2.8 million in the 12-month period ending June 30, according to demographic and business experts serving on the state's population estimates committee.

In recent years, Utah has boasted one of the best appreciating housing markets in the nation.

But the state has recently fallen to 29th place for housing price appreciation.

A report compiled by the Federal Housing Finance Agency determined that home prices in Utah fell 1.64 percent in third quarter 2008 compared to last year.

Nationally, home prices declined 4 percent for the year-over-year period.

The tight global credit market is forcing some Utah towns to delay planned financing and requiring others to pay unexpectedly high interest rates for existing debt, continued the DWS report.

Other cities at locations across the state are nervous about how financing will be received in the marketplace.

Despite recent increases in the number of Utahns seeking protection from creditors, the state no longer can claim the distinction of being one of the bankruptcy capitals of the country, pointed out the department of workforce services.

Owners of 1,812 properties in Utah received some type of foreclosure-related filing in October, up nearly 73 percent from the same month in 2007, said RealtyTrac, a company that tracks the foreclosure market nationally.

Addressing an issue of local interest, the department of workforce services' Trendlines report indicated that the falling crude oil prices should have little impact on the current as well as future oil shale and tar sands development projects slated in eastern Utah.

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