Monday, May 23, 2016

Some Central Utah cities lost population during 2015

The U.S. Census Bureau releases 2015 population estimates for cities 

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“I come from a small town whose population never changed. Each time a woman got pregnant, someone left town.” Michael Prichard

The U.S. Census Bureau just released 2015 population estimates for cities and towns. In the visualization below, you can check out the estimates for your own Utah hometown. Use the “Cities by County” tab to easily locate a particular township.

While most cities in Utah expanded during 2015, they presented a wide variety of growth experiences.

• The old Geneva Steel Mill site has proved fertile ground for population growth. Vineyard, Utah, which is located on the spot, grew by a whopping 418 percent in just one year. However, Vineyard’s population remains relatively low in the overall scheme of things with about 3,200 residents.

• South Jordan added the largest number of persons (roughly 3,800) of any Utah city or town. South Jordan also ranked fifth in the nation for 2015 population growth (among cities with populations of 50,000 or more).

• The top five population-gaining cities in Utah are all located in southern Salt Lake County or northern Utah County as the metropolitan population continues to spread outward from the large city centers. Fastest-growing larger communities also tended to be located near the Salt Lake/Utah County border.

• Due to the nature of percent changes, several small towns (Ophir, Ballard, Francis, Wallsburg) showed high growth rates although their new-resident counts measured relatively low.

• Census estimates suggest a number of towns lost population in 2015. Every town in Carbon, Emery and Wayne counties showed contraction. In addition, Kanab and Beaver City experienced notable population declines.

• Salt Lake County remains home to five of the 10 largest cities in the state. Utah County accounts for another two in the top 10. St. George is the only city in the top-10 ranking located outside the Wasatch Front.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for April 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for April 2016 has been released on the web.

Find the Current Economic Situation in its entirety here.

For charts and tables, including County Employment, go to the Employment and Unemployment page.

Next update scheduled for June 17th, 2016.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mixed results in health insurance coverage in Central Utah

The Census Bureau Releases 2014 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates 

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“Poverty and no health insurance coverage keeps the doctor away — apples have nothing to do with it.” Beryl Dov 

The goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) include expanded health insurance coverage in the United States. Most of the Act’s health insurance expansion provisions went into effect January 1, 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau’s recently-released 2014 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates  provide an initial glimpse of the early outcomes of ACA on health insurance coverage. Keep in mind that health insurance coverage runs the gamut from employer-provided plans to personal insurance to government Medicaid and Medicare coverage. These estimates cover individuals under the age of 65, since those 65 and older are eligible for government-provided health insurance through Medicare.

Has health insurance coverage has expanded in the Beehive State? The percentage of individuals in Utah with health insurance coverage did increase between 2009 and 2014. In 2008, 83.7 percent of the population under age 65 had some sort of health insurance according to the Census Bureau estimates (based on the American Community Survey data). By 2014, coverage had increased by an additional 2.5 percentage points to measure 86.2 percent.

However, while most age groups showed expanding coverage, coverage for persons between 40 and 64 actually declined. In fact, coverage contracted by almost a full percentage point for those 50 to 64 years of age. On the other hand, young people under the age of 19 saw the strongest expansion in coverage.

Gains in the percentage of insured proved particularly strong for African Americans and Latinos. Coverage for black Utahns increased by 5 percentage points while Hispanics experienced a notable 8 percentage-point gain. In contrast, white (not Hispanic) coverage increased by only 1.8 percentage points between 2008 and 2014.

Males (up 2.7 points) were slightly more likely than females (up 2.2 points) to experience an increase in the insured share of the population. Latino males experienced the strongest expansion, the percent of insured rose 9.1 percentage points between 2008 and 2014.

The Census Bureau provides health-insurance categories ranging from at-or-below-138 percent of poverty to at-or-below-400 percent of poverty. Those with the lowest incomes experienced the greatest increase in coverage (up 6.6 points). However, lower-income individuals are still insured at a lower rate than their higher-income peers. For example, only 73.6 percent of those at or below 138 percent of poverty are insured compared to 86.2 percent of the general population.

Counties in the northern part of the state tend to show the highest shares of insured individuals. In 2014, Morgan, Davis, Box Elder, Tooele and Utah counties all showed insured shares of 88 percent or higher. On the opposite end of the scale, many counties in central and southern Utah showed low insured rates. In Piute, San Juan, Washington, Millard and Sanpete counties, 81 percent or less of the population under the age of 65 had health insurance.

While most counties shared in the state’s increasing health insurance coverage, Carbon, Millard, Piute and Summit counties all showed a slight decrease in the share of insured individuals less than 65 years of age. However, the estimated declines are well within the margin of error for these counties, which suggests that coverage might not have declined at all. In general, the largest increases in health insurance coverage occurred in small counties — Daggett, Beaver, Grand, Kane, Morgan and San Juan counties.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gravel pit proposal rocks Teasdale

Utah trust lands officials plan to authorize a gravel pit just east of the Wayne County hamlet Teasdale, but many nearby residents contend such a use is a poor fit in an area famed for its bucolic and red-rock vistas, potentially undermining its ability to attract visitors and support agriculture.

The proposal has sparked a lively debate on social media, and critics and supporters of the project are expected to converge at a planning commission hearing Wednesday night in Loa, where commissioners are weighing a zoning change that would allow industrial uses in the scenic area largely devoted to livestock and alfalfa operations.

Brown Brothers Construction Co., which has operated a gravel pit on state land near Loa for decades, recently approached SITLA about leasing an L-shaped 120-acre parcel not far from the river, south of State Route 24. Brown wants to work 30 acres off the Teasdale Bench Road. SITLA would charge annual rent of $1,200 and a royalty of 70 cents per cubic yard of material removed. Salt Lake Tribune

Independent experts to examine Utah coal counties’ plan to invest in California export terminal

State officials are looking for independent consultants to evaluate Utah's proposed investment in a California export terminal — a plan that has sparked controversy in both states from critics who question the environmental impact of shipping coal and future demand for it.

The proposed loan is a new approach for the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB), which decides how to spend millions the state reaps every year from federal mineral royalties and leases. SB246 bypasses restrictions on CIB funding, allowing the board to create a new revolving loan program designed to help move rural Utah's natural resources to distant markets.

First up is the $53 million loan sought by four coal-producing counties that want to invest in a proposed deep-water terminal under development in Oakland. Other proposals that could seek access to the new fund are a transmission line, oil pipeline and rail line serving the Uinta Basin's oil patch and a 48-mile rail spur connecting Salina to the coal load-out on the Union Pacific line at Levan. Salt Lake Tribune

Dangerous Sanpete County bridge over Sevier River being replaced

Farmers Highway and a major route to Lund Farms have been partially closed for the construction of the new $1.16-million, 100-foot Sevier River Bridge Project. The state determined the previous bridge was dangerous for commuters to cross, especially those with heavy loads because some structures underneath the bridge had broken away over time. Dry Creek Structures of Lehi won the bid and broke ground on Feb. 15. Sanpete Messenger

Railroad resort brings Sevier railroad past to life

The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad is being resurrected in an unusual way in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. Partners David Grow and George Jones of Environetics have built a caboose and railroad village at Big Rock Candy Mountain, north of Marysvale in Piute County.

After several years of planning, last year the pair opened the Track 89 Caboose Village Resort at Big Rock Candy Mountain with three railroad cars. This year, they have seven and next year they hope to have 10. The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area recently awarded the project a $25,000 grant for landscaping and parking. In February they received a 50-year lease for the old Denver and Rio Grande Depot from the city of Mt. Pleasant to build a similar resort there. Sanpete Pyramid

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Your area’s labor market information is “OnTheMap”

The Census Bureau’s online mapping tool provides a wealth of location-specific labor market information 

 By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.” Ashleigh Brilliant 

This isn’t your same old blog post about data. Instead of analyzing and sharing data, this post covers how to access an extremely useful “big data” labor market information tool. What is this tool? The U.S. Census Bureau’s OnTheMap web-based mapping and reporting application.

What’s so great about OnTheMap? Typically, we report labor market information at the state and county level. Local-level data is harder to come by. Along with the ability to provide labor market profiles of small and large nonstandard areas, OnTheMap graphically demonstrates where people work and where workers live. Users can define their own geographies and obtain data and maps at the census-block level of detail. This flexibility can quickly provide information for emergency and transportation planning, site location and economic development.

Do you want to understand commuting patterns for a particular area? OnTheMap can generate maps of outflow and inflow. Do you want to know the basic characteristics of workers in your town? OnTheMap has that information. Do you want to identify the employment characteristics along a specific stretch of highway? OnTheMap can deliver that data. Do you want to discern how many workers live within a 50-mile radius of a particular site? OnTheMap delivers.

Where does this data come from? OnTheMap combines federal and state administrative data on workers and employees with Census Bureau census and survey data. Don’t worry. Using state-of-the-art methods, the Census Bureau is committed to protecting the confidentiality of business and personal information.

Where People Work 

Let’s run through a few examples of how OnTheMap outputs can help you understand your local economy. Suppose the Ephraim City Council wants to know where the residents of their town work. OnTheMap indicates roughly 40 percent of the city’s working residents are employed in Ephraim itself (zip code 84627). Not surprisingly, other high concentrations of Ephraim workers are in nearby towns. Interestingly, 28 percent of Ephraim workers commute to the Wasatch Front (Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties) for employment.

Next, the Mayor wants to know how many workers travel into Ephraim for employment. OnTheMap suggests that roughly equal numbers are entering and exiting Ephraim for employment purposes. In-commuters are most likely to drive from Manti.

 Labor Market Characteristics 

Now, these local government officials have decided they would like to know the characteristics of those folks that work or live in Ephraim. OnTheMap can provide age-group, earnings, industry, race/ethnicity, gender and educational attainment information. For example, OnTheMap shows the following characteristics for working residents of Ephraim:

• 27 percent are 29 years or younger
• 29 percent make more than $3,333 a month
• 23 percent work in education, healthcare or social services
• 8 percent are Latino
• 18 percent have at least a Bachelor’s degree
• 46 percent are female

Getting Specific 

A company thinking of locating to Ephraim is interested in the number (and characteristics) of workers within a standard commuting distance of a particular worksite. Economic development professionals can specify a particular radius and obtain a report. Other shapes (donut and plume) are also available. In addition, users can draw their own polygons in OnTheMap. To determine how many workers may be inconvenienced by a road construction project, just draw a line along the length of the project and “buffer” the selection.

You should begin to see what a valuable informational tool OnTheMap can be for planning and economic development purposes. OnTheMap is available here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016