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Non-metro Utah counties benefit from employment growth, surging economy

Utah's economy continues to surge at a record pace and a significant portion of the growth experienced statewide has occurred outside of metropolitan areas.

The 2002 to 2003 recession impacted the metro area more than non-metro regions across the state, noted Utah Department of Workforce Services economist Austin Sargent.

From 2001 to 2005, the state's economy added nearly 67,000 jobs.

Non-metro locations throughout Utah accounted for 46 percent of the total.

During the four-year period in question, Utah's employment expanded by 6.2 percent. The states metro area grew by 4.1 percent and the non-metro regions of the state expanding by 14.6 percent.

The metro fringe grew 19.2 percent followed by the emerging metro counties, which rose 17.3 percent.

The core non-metro area experienced employment growth of 7.6 percent .

According to the department of workforce services economist, the top five industries posting job growth statewide in the period from 2001 to 2005 period included:

•Health care and social service.

Health care and social services added 17,000 employment opportunities.


The construction industry created 10,000 employment opportunities at locations across Utah.


Employment in the education sector increased by 8,000 positions.

•Public administration.

Public administration expanded by 6,300 jobs.

•Administrative support and waste management.

Administrative support and waste management created 6,200 employment opportunities.

In the non-metro areas, the construction industry was the main supplier of job growth, adding nearly 5,500 jobs, pointed out the department of workforce services economist.

Employment also grew in health care and social services in non-metro Utah, expanding by 5,100 labor market positions.

Transportation and warehousing expanded by 2,400 jobs.

Retail trade added 2,400 positions during the four-year period in question and accommodations and food services created 2,200 employment opportunities.

Statewide, Utah's manufacturing lost the most jobs, declining by 4,900 positions.

In the non-metro areas, management of companies reported job losses, dropping nearly 900 positions.

Utah's non-metro counties can be grouped by similar economic characteristics, explained Sargent.

The emerging metro counties dominate the non-metro data.

The counties accounted for 63 percent of the job growth.

Construction and health care were the main growth industries.

In Utah's metropolitan fringe counties, growth was driven by transportation and warehousing.

Accommodations and food services followed transportation and warehousing.

For the remaining core non-metro counties, mining accounted for the creation of most of the jobs.

Increased demands for energy have revitalized the mining industry in coal, oil, natural gas and uranium.

Health care and social services also added positions.

The economic outlook remains healthy for non-metro Utah.

Strong population growth in the emerging and fringe counties will sustain the demand for workers in the construction, health care and retail trade industries.

The strength of the core non-metro counties will depend on what happens in energy-related industries, indicated Sargent.

The implications for job seekers in the non-metropolitan counties across Utah focuses on looking at the businesses in the state's growing industries.

The growing industries will be comprised of the companies scrambling to hire workers to meet market demands, concluded the Utah Department or Workforce Services economist.

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