Carbon County experienced an increase in unemployment in December 2001.
Last November, the county reported a 5.8 percent jobless rate. Local unemployment climbed to 6.8 percent in December.
By comparison, Carbon County's jobless rate registered at 4.6 percent in October 2001 and at 6.1 percent in December 2000.
In neighboring Emery County, the unemployment rate increased from 8.9 percent in November to 9.8 percent in December 2001.
Emery County posted jobless rates of 8.3 percent and 7.3 percent respectively in October 2001 and December 2000.
At the regional level, the southeastern district witnessed rising unemployment, with rates registering at 7.6 percent in December and 7.0 percent in November 2001.
The regional jobless rate registered at 6.6 percent in October 2001 and at 6.7 percent in December 2000. The southeastern district encompasses Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.
At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate jumped to 5.2 percent in December from 4.4 percent joblessness in November 2001. Last month, Utah unemployment rate reached the highest level posted statewide since April 1992.
"Layoffs continue to push up the unemployment rate," commented Ken Jensen, senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
"One reflection of this is the 80 percent jump in the number of weeks of unemployment insurance claimed through DWS for mid-December compared to the same period in 2000," pointed out Jensen.
Last month, nearly 60,000 Utahns were unemployed, representing a 65 percent leap from the 36,200 individuals filing claims in December 2000, when the state reported joblessness at 3.2 percent.
Utah's second primary indicator of current labor market conditions, the year-over rate of increase in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, fell sharply since the first of 2001.
December's 0.4 percent employment expansion represents a tiny fraction of January 2001's 2.4 percent. Utah is experiencing the slowest statewide job growth since 1987.
Between December 2000 and December 2001, Utah's 66,000 employers created only 3,900 net new non-farm positions. Utah's historical average growth rate of 3.5 percent would have produced 38,000 new jobs.
On the national scene, unemployment in the United States edged up from 5.6 percent in November to 5.8 in December, the country's highest jobless rate since October 1994.
Correspondingly, there were fewer non-farm jobs nationwide last month than in December 2000, a loss of 0.8 percent. December 2001 was the third month in a row to show a year-over loss in employment opportunities.
The last time the U.S. lost jobs year-over was in 1992. Only 19 months ago, U.S. job growth registered at 2.7 percent.
"Despite today's gloomy news, some positive signs in certain sectors of the national economy suggest that recovery is not far off," observed DWS director Bob Gross.
"Locally, we are waiting to learn the full impact of holiday shopping and sales on revenues. We do anticipate improvement in the retail and service sectors during the next several weeks as Utah hosts the world for the Olympic Winter Games," explained Gross.
Through most of 2001, construction provided a bright spot in Utah's dimming economy. Employment in the industry, while down from the levels of 2000 and 1999, remained surprisingly resilient.
However, the year-over losses are ballooning. About 2,500 fewer construction jobs existed last month than in December 2000, a loss of 3.6 percent.
During 2000 and most of 1999, employment in Utah's services division grew more rapidly than any sector. Through the period, business services were the leading job producing activities.
But the economic slowdown hit the services area hard and, starting in February 2001, job growth slowed sharply.
In fact, the December estimates show a year-over loss of 7 percent or 6,500 business services jobs statewide.
Several services categories managed to maintain expansion and Utah's largest industrial division generated 1,100 net new positions, a growth rate of only 0.3 percent.
The finance/insurance/real estate division is Utah's leader in the pace of year-over employment expansion. The sector's 4.1 percent job growth reflects 2,400 new positions, according to the workforce services department.
Depository institutions grew by 400 jobs statewide, while a 2,000 gain occurred in the remainder of the division.
The recession for Utah's manufacturing division deepened during the last month.
Layoffs reported in Utah's steel industry added to the year-over losses in manufacturing. The situation resulted in a 2.4 percent employment loss or 3,500 fewer jobs.
Although relatively poor, the department of workforce services indicated that Utah's manufacturing performance surpassed the national average.
The United States manufacturing division lost 7.2 percent of the sector's jobs nationwide from December 2000 to December 2001.
In Utah, the consolidated wholesale plus retail trade division accounts for nearly one-fourth of the employment positions statewide.
However, consolidated trade produced only 500 net new jobs across Utah during the last 12 months, for a growth rate of 0.2 percent.
Eating/drinking places added 1,100 positions. But the eating/driking place gain was entirely offset by a loss in the food stores group.
Meager employment growth in the various transportation industries was nearly offset by losses in communications and in the electric, gas, and sanitary-services group.
Therefore, the workforce services department pointed out that the transportation/communications/public utilities division gained only 200 jobs statewide for 0.3 percent expansion during the last 12 months.
Last month, Utah's total employment in the mining division remained at the same level as posted by the industry statewide in December 2000.
Other mining and quarrying, primarily oil and gas extraction, added 300 jobs at locations across Utah. Coal mining created 100 employment opportunities statewide.
However, due primarily to cutbacks at Kennecott Copper, metal mining has lost 400 positions year-over.
Government employers in Utah have 5,700 more staff than a year ago, an increase of 3.0 percent.
The majority of the federal government's 3 percent employment expansion is due to 600 new civilian jobs at defense installations.
State and local government aggregations grew by 3 percent, expanding by 1,700 and 3,000 employment opportunities across Utah respectively.
Education related positions account for more than one-half of the employment increases in state and local governments.