Thursday, June 1, 2017

Is Your Town Growing?

U.S. Census Bureau releases 2016 City Population Estimates


By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time” –Patrick Geddes

Most of Utah’s cities and towns grew in 2017, according to population estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Lehi even ranked 11th among the nation’s fastest-growing large cities. However, not all Utah’s cities and towns experienced growth.

Use the visualization and bullet points below to explore population trends for individual townships.


• The old Geneva Steel Mill site continues to be fertile ground for population expansion. Vineyard was once again the fastest growing city in Utah. However its rate of growth has slowed dramatically since 2015. In addition, Vineyard remains relatively small in size.

• Herriman added the highest number of new residents of any city in Utah (4,550) followed by Orem, Lehi and South Jordan. All showed higher population gains than Salt Lake City — Utah’s most populous city. Herriman also showed the second-fastest rate of expansion in 2016.

• St. George was the only city outside the Wasatch Front to increase its population by more than 2,000 residents.

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

• Due to the nature of percent-change mathematics, several small towns (such as Monticello, Mantua, Francis, Interlaken and Hideout) showed high growth rates although their new-resident counts measured relatively low.

• The Census Bureau estimates that most of the cities and towns showing population declines were located in the Uintah Basin, Carbon County and Emery County. Declines in resource-based employment have spearheaded these population declines.

• In addition, Millard, Piute, Garfield and Wayne counties displayed a significant number of contracting townships.

• 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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Understanding Utah’s Future Skill and Knowledge Needs

The Utah Department of Workforce Services releases Skill and Knowledge-based Projections

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.” Wilbur Wright

The following skill and knowledge projections suggest that the foundation for future workforce preparation relies on those old favorites “readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic.” Technical skills and knowledge areas are also important, but rely on an excellent foundation in basic skill and knowledge areas.

• Utah occupational projections and the Occupational Information Network (O*Net) provide the foundation for these skills and knowledge estimates.

• “Basic Skills” dominate the top 10 in-demand skills, suggesting a need to ensure training on “the basics” for all prospective workers.

• Basic skills needs cross occupational and educational boundaries. • Basic skills make changing occupations possible as the labor market changes.

• Communication skills and reading rank highest on the top skills list, followed by critical thinking. • The top five skill and knowledge areas are the same for every region of the state.

• The top 10 in-demand skills change very little regardless of the occupational training level.

• Customer Service ranks, by far, as the knowledge area with the highest projected demand.

• For occupations requiring formal training past the high school level, competence in English, computers/electronics, and mathematics becomes increasingly important — although these skills are in demand for employment at all training levels.

• Short-term shortages for certain technical skills may seem to displace the overarching need for all workers to have a strong foundation in basic skills in training discussions.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Utah's Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for all Utah counties have been posted online here.

Each month, these rates are posted the Monday following the Unemployment Rate Update for Utah.

For more information about seasonally adjusted rates, read a DWS analysis here.

Next update scheduled for June 19th.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Utah's Employment Situation for April 2017

Utah's Employment Situation for April 2017 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 16th, 2017.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Centerfield mapping out $1.5M road project, $200,000 will allow chip-sealing

Centerfield City is getting ready for an almost $1.5-million roads project to get underway soon. The city has qualified for $1.47 million in a loan-grant combination for needed work. At a meeting of the city council Savage Surveying presented the company’s projections for where and what kind of maintenance should be done. Through its planning, the company had saved about $200,000, which could be used to double chip-seal all the east-west roads in the town, in addition to the north-south roads. The council approved Savage’s plans. Sanpete Messenger

Project on state trust lands not subject to local zoning

A state judge has invalidated a conditional-use permit Wayne County officials issued for a gravel pit on state trust lands on the edge of Teasdale, raising new questions on how much say local governments have over projects authorized by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

The county last year approved a gravel pit on part of a 120-acre SITLA parcel just upwind from Torrey, the artsy gateway to Capitol Reef National Park, in an area zoned for agriculture and low-density residential. The move outraged some residents, who took the dispute to court.

Judge George Harmond ruled that state-owned land is exempt from county zoning rules, so Wayne County properly declined to "rezone" the parcel in question. At the same time, Harmond said in his ruling the conditional-use permit issued to Brown Brothers Construction to operate the pit is not valid — since such permits are premised on a zoning designation. Salt Lake Tribune

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Census Bureau Tool Provides Labor-Force Insight for Utah


By Mark Knold and Lecia Langston

Across the United States, jobs are quantified through each state’s unemployment insurance program. Those programs provide the potential for laid-off workers to receive unemployment benefits — the goal being to bridge the gap between workers’ lost jobs and their next jobs. An eligible recipient’s weekly benefit amount is based upon their earnings from recent work. This begs the question, how does Utah’s unemployment insurance program know how much an individual recently earned while working?

That answer is supplied by all businesses that hire workers, as they must report their employees and pay as mandated by the unemployment insurance laws. Companies identify their individual workers and those workers’ monetary earnings for a calendar quarter. As businesses are identified by their industrial activity and geographic location, it is through the unemployment insurance program that aggregate employment counts by industry and location are calculated.

Yet each state’s profiling of individuals is quite minimal in the unemployment insurance program. The U.S. Census Bureau can bring more light to the overall labor force by supplementing said information with gender, age, race/ethnicity and educational attainment (imputted from American Community Survey responses) for Utah’s labor force.

The Census Bureau packages this information through their Local Employment Dynamics program and makes available said data on its website. Here at the Department of Workforce Services, we recently downloaded and packaged Utah-specific data from said website and summarized it in the attached visualization.

Various data “tabs” are available, presenting Utah’s economy from different angles, ranging from industry shares within the economy to the age-group distributions of the labor force, to gender and race distributions. These labor variables can be viewed for the state as a whole, or by each individual county.



Health Insurance: Who’s covered in Utah?

Census Bureau Estimates Provide Answers about Utah Health Insurance Coverage


By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Most Americans want health insurance.” Jacob Lew

The U.S. Census Bureau just published its Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) for counties and states while the national discussion on health care laws receives renewed attention. Is this a coincidence? Yes, but a timely one. This post examines how health insurance coverage for Utahns has changed and also the demographics of who has coverage and who does not.

Tracking Utahns Under 65 Years of Age

Small Area Health Insurance Estimates cover the population under 65 years of age. Of course, virtually all residents 65 and older are covered by government-provided Medicare. Because the estimates date back to 2008, two years before the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the available figures provide an indication of the effect of the ACA on health insurance coverage in Utah and its counties.
More Utahns have Health Insurance

Between 2008 and 2015, the number of Utahns under 65 years old covered by health insurance increased by 284,000. Not only did the actual covered increase, but the share of non-senior population with health insurance also gained ground expanding from less than 84 percent to more than 88 percent — an increase of 4.7 percentage points.

Only Millard County experienced a very slight 0.3 percentage point decline in health insurance coverage although the actual number of persons covered increased by 113. Daggett, Rich, Kane and Grand counties showed the highest growth in under-65 coverage; each showed increases of at least 9 percentage points.

In 2015, counties in northern Utah generally showed the highest level of non-senior health insurance coverage. In Morgan, Davis, Box Elder, Tooele and Cache counties, health insurance rates top 90 percent. On the other end of the scale, rural counties in central and southern Utah display the lowest coverage. In San Juan, Millard, Duchesne and Wayne counties, health insurance rates for those under 65 measured 83 percent or less.

Those under 19 saw the greatest gains. Coverage rates for these young people increased from 87 percent in 2008 to 93 percent in 2015. Utah males experienced a larger gain in coverage between 2008 and 2015 (5 percentage points) than did females (4 percentage points), although females were more likely than men to carry health insurance in both years. Health insurance rates for those with the lowest incomes showed the most improvement (10.4 percentage points). However, their coverage shares remain roughly 10 points below average.

Wait, There’s More…

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ephraim will get $55k from watershed protection program

The City of Ephraim will receive $55,000 from a national program aimed at repairing damage done by natural disasters, and protecting against future ones. The money is part of $5 million the National Resource Conservation Service (a division under the U.S. Department of Agriculture) is investing in Utah through its Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which aids communities in recovering from or preventing disasters. Ephraim City’s portion of the grant is slated for work to repair and prevent erosion of a debris basin above the city. Sanpete Messenger