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Carbon County reports expanding labor force

Carbon County's economy generated a 9.2 percent employment expansion rate last month.

The latest Utah Department of Workforce Services data indicate that 10,145 local residents were employed in December 2008.

By comparison, Carbon County reported 9,287 active labor market participants in 2007.

At the state level, Utah's non-farm wage and salaried job count contracted by 1.9 percent last month.

Approximately 24,600 jobs have been removed from the Utah economy during the last 12 months, lowering total wage and salary employment to 1,251,300.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the unemployment rate, jumped sharply to 4.3 percent last month. In December 2007, the state's rate was 2.9 percent.

Approximately 60,100 Utahns were considered unemployed in December 2008, compared to 39,600 in 2007, representing an increase of 20,500 jobless workers.

At the national level, the United States unemployment rate continued to rise, reaching 7.2 percent.

"The employment numbers are generated in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. A nationwide survey of employers is done each month to gather core data and each state's specific employer results are forwarded to each state," explained Mark Knold, DWS economist. "The national forecast is published at the beginning of the month and the state's data are published roughly two weeks later. Currently, the state forecasts are not adding to the same national forecast. Therefore, BLS is making an attempt this month to bring these two forecasting measurements into agreement."

"BLS gave each state a targeted employment number for December in an effort to bring the two data series in line," continued Knold. "BLS is chasing a larger and fitting goal, yet in the process, a few states will see major, and not necessarily agreeable, adjustments to their forecasts. I believe Utah is one of those states. In my opinion, the BLS forecasted numbers for Utah may overstate the job loss by as many as 10,000 jobs. Therefore, we as a state are taking caution in how these numbers are presented and interpreted."

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