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Jobless rate stabilizes in Carbon County area

Carbon County's unemployment remained relatively constant in September, registering at 6.3 percent.

In August, the local jobless rate stood at 6.2 percent and the slight increase in unemployment basically represents a statistically insignificant occurrence, indicated the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

By comparison, Carbon County experienced a 7.9 percent unemployment rate in September 2003.

In neighboring Emery County, the jobless rate decreased from 8.8 percent in August to 8.1 percent in September.

Emery County reported a 10.2 percent unemployment rate in September 2003.

At the regional level, the jobless rate declined from 8 percent in August to 7.7 percent in September.

The southeastern district posted an 8.6 percent unemployment rate in September 2003.

At the state level, Utah's unemployment rate registered at 4.8 percent in September, climbing slightly from August's 4.7 percent. Approximately 57,700 Utahns were unemployed in September.

Last year, 65,400 Utahns were jobless when the unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent statewide.

Utah's second primary indicator of labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of non-farm wage and salaried jobs, is expanding at a healthy pace for the state.

Employment expansion climbed to 3 percent in September from the 2.9 percent growth rate posted statewide in August.

"An employment growth rate of 3 percent or higher is a healthy rate that, in the long run, will generate adequate employment opportunities for the state's expanding population," pointed out Raylene Ireland, department of workforce services director.

"In addition, it also generates adequate tax revenues to fund Utah's social needs. We have several years of sub-par performance behind us to makeup, so this growth rate won't turn things around overnight. But Utah's future prospect currently looks much brighter," explained the DWS director.

All industrial sectors in Utah recorded employment growth in September and the nature of the statewide expansion was diverse, according to the latest data compiled by the department of workforce services.

The growth not only reached into all industries operating at locations across the state, but into all job levels - low, medium and high wage.

The strength of Utah's expansion centered outside of Salt Lake County in September.

Accounting for slightly less than half of the employment opportunities statewide, the Wasatch Front county recorded a 1.4 percent growth rate.

Construction and retail trade continued to represent the two leading sectors for employment expansion in Utah.

"The state's current rate of employment growth has returned to the range that more closely mirrors its long-term performance. Utah has finally shaken off its recessionary effects and is growing forward. High energy prices pose the most significant obstacle to the economy's current performance. It offers more of a negative impact to the national economy than to the Utah economy. The chances of high energy prices pushing the national economy into another recession this winter poses a real possibility. However, please note that this does not guarantee another recession for Utah. Utah has ridden right over many national recessions in the past and the current dynamics look like that could happen again if the nation does suffer another recessionary setback," noted Mark Knold, department of workforce services senior economist.

Since last September, the United States economy added 1.8 million jobs for a 1.4 percent nationwide growth rate. The Utah economy expanded by approximately 32,900 employment opportunities for a growth rate of 3 percent.

Utah's expansion accounted for about 1.8 percent of all the employment opportunities created at locations across the U.S. during the last year, concluded the department or workforce services.

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