Monday, September 19, 2016

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 October 24th.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for August 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for August 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 October 21st, 2016.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sevier Valley Hospital expansion continues

Sevier Valley Hospital recently conducted a ground breaking for an expansion that will include a new area for women and newborns, and a new emergency room.

The expansion, which is set to take place in phases between now and spring of 2017, is designed to address issues with the hospital’s current women and newborn area and its emergency room. Additional parking is also planned for the north side of the hospital campus. Richfield Reaper

Oakland City Council votes to ban coal — from Utah or elsewhere — at its new port

Utah's push to export its coal culminated in a raucous Oakland City Council meeting, when officials debated, and ultimately approved, an ordinance banning the chunky fossil fuel from passing through a major deep-water port taking shape on the shores of the Bay Area city.

After months of study and fielding four hours of impassioned public comments, the council passed in a 7-0 vote the ordinance banning the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke to resounding applause from the residents packing the council chambers. The council also passed a related resolution applying the ordinance to the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT), which four coal-producing Utah counties want to invest in. The measures come back to the council for a second reading July 9.

 The move exposes the city, its lawyers warned, to hundreds of millions of dollars of liability for breaching its contract authorizing developer Phil Tagami to build what is known as Oakland Global Trade and Logistics Center on the city-owned former Oakland Army Base at the foot of the Bay Bridge.

OBOT is a $250 million component of Tagami's project, aimed at moving 10 million tons of bulk freight per year. Under a deal with four Utah counties — Carbon, Emery, Sevier and Sanpete ­— half that capacity would be reserved for Utah products in exchange for $50 million. Salt Lake Tribune

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wayne County Economic Update

Wayne County’s labor market shot up dramatically in the first few months of 2016. First quarter 2016 marks more than a year’s worth of nonfarm job growth. While the expansion rates have proved erratic, this vacillating behavior is common among small counties. Not only is the employment base expanding, but most industries sported membership in the job-creation club. Joblessness seems to have stalled at a relatively high level, not uncommon to tourism-driven economies. Although the unemployment rate remains high, first-time claims activity remains low suggesting layoffs are not playing a present-day role. Early 2016 growth in both construction and sales also points towards an improving economy.

  • Wayne County’s nonfarm employment showed expansion between March 2015 and March 2016 with almost 90 new jobs and a year-over growth rate of nearly 11 percent. 
  • Retail trade and leisure/hospitality services added the largest numbers of new employment, ranking first and second in employment creation. 
  • Government, construction and healthcare/social services also contributed to the new job totals. 
  • Industry-level job losses were virtually nonexistent. 
  • After edging down for the better part of two years, Wayne County’s jobless rate seems to have stalled. 
  • The county’s June 2016 unemployment rate of 8.4 percent reflects a seasonal, tourism-driven economy. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance are currently following a seasonal pattern suggesting that no unusual layoff activity has occurred so far in 2016. 
  • The leisure/hospitality services industry has generated the lion’s share of new claims so far this year. 
  • The county’s average monthly wage has slowly edged upwards in fits and starts. 
  • The first quarter 2016 wage took a breather from the ascending trend displaying virtually no change since first quarter 2015. 
  • Construction permitting was off to a rapid-fire 2016 start with the authorization of several large nonresidential projects. In the first three months of 2016, residential permitting ran slower than in the same time period in 2015. 
  • Gross taxable sales increased at a robust 12-percent rate between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • Accommodations, food services and general merchandise stores showed the highest sales gains.

Sevier County Economic Update

After a strong end-of-year performance, Sevier County’s economy stepped back a notch in the first few months of 2016. The county continued to create new employment, but the rate of employment proved notably slower than just a quarter earlier. Nevertheless, the area hasn’t experienced employment contraction since 2013. As job growth waned, unemployment edged up. Although joblessness has risen slightly, it remains relatively low and first-time claims for unemployment insurance are running at a seasonal level. Following employment’s lead, gross taxable sales expanded but at a rather tepid rate. In general, the economy is improving, but at a lukewarm rather than scorching speed.


  • Nonfarm jobs in Sevier County grew by 1.2 percent between the March 2015 and March 2016, reflecting the addition of about 100 jobs. 
  • Healthcare/social services made the largest employment contribution followed by construction and government. 
  • While several industries contracted, the only job loss of note occurred in the tourism-driven leisure/hospitality services industry. 
  • Sevier County’s unemployment rate has increased 0.6 percentage points since the beginning of the year. 
  • Joblessness measured 4.8 percent in June 2016, below the statewide average and roughly equal to the national figure. 
  • In the first half of 2016, first-time claims for unemployment insurance followed a traditional seasonal pattern with no signs of unusual stress. 
  • So far this year, construction, retail trade and private education/healthcare/social services have generated the most claims activity. 
  • Despite decelerating job growth, Sevier County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to trend upward. 
  • Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage increased by more than 3 percent. 
  • Current construction data is not available for Sevier County. 
  • Gross taxable sales increased by a lackluster 1.4 percent between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • General merchandise stores showed the strongest sales improvement. In addition, business investment expenditures rose nicely. 
  • On the downside, wholesale trade sales dipped noticeably.
  • Sanpete County Economic Update

    Sanpete County rang in the new year with another quarter of strong economic growth. Nonfarm jobs showed solid gains and broad-based expansion. In contrast, joblessness has edged up in recent months. Strong employment expansion coupled with a dearth of unseasonal unemployment insurance claims activity suggests the rise is the result of workers entering and re-entering the labor market. Gross taxable sales expanded nicely falling in line with employment growth. Despite the recent uptick in unemployment, most indicators illustrate a healthy Sanpete County economy.


  • Between March 2015 and March 2016, Sanpete County added more than 280 new nonfarm jobs for a year-over growth rate of nearly 4 percent. 
  • Manufacturing produced the largest number of new jobs with healthcare/social services, retail trade and professional/business services contributing notable numbers of new positions. 
  • The only significant job loss occurred in leisure/hospitality services. Following Utah’s lead, Sanpete County’s unemployment rate has increased in recent months. 
  • However, at 4.4 percent in June 2016, joblessness remains relatively low from an historical perspective. 
  • During the first half of 2016, new unemployment insurance claims followed the seasonal pattern of the past several years with no sign of cyclical layoffs. 
  • Thanks to its project-to-project nature, construction accounted for a large share of current 2016 claims activity. Sanpete County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to slowly improve. 
  • However, the year-to-year increase for first quarter 2016 proved lower than usual – less than 1 percent. 
  • Current construction data is not available for Sanpete County. Gross taxable sales showed a strong 8.5 percent increase between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • Prior-period adjustments and business investment expenditures accounted for much of the addition although food/beverage stores, general merchandise stores and private motor vehicle sales all made solid showings.
  • Piute County Economic Update

    Piute County’s economic indicators portrayed another difficult quarter. Nonfarm jobs took another hit in first quarter 2016 and not surprisingly, unemployment trended upward. Fortunately, given the local employment contraction, many workers have found employment outside the county’s boundaries. A decline in gross taxable sales rounded out this rather disappointing beginning to 2016.


  • Piute County showed a 9-job, 4-percent year-over decline in nonfarm employment for March 2016. 
  • Job losses in leisure/hospitality services accounted for much of the decline with no major industry producing a noteworthy employment increase.
  • After declining for most of 2015, Piute County’s unemployment rate is once again on the rise. 
  • In June 2016, the unemployment rate estimate for Piute County measured 6.8 percent, almost 3 percentage points higher than the statewide average (4.0 percent). 
  • Yet, new unemployment insurance claims remain low with most claims so far this year originating in construction. 
  • The county’s average monthly nonfarm wage continued to edge upward despite employment shrinkage. 
  • In fact, between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage increased by 8 percent. 
  • Current construction data is not available for Piute County. 
  • Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, Piute County’s gross taxable sales dropped by roughly 2 percent. 
  • Most retail sectors experienced declining sales.
  • Millard County Economic Update

    After a strong 2015 ending, Millard County’s employment picture clouded at the beginning of 2016. In first quarter 2016, nonfarm employment showed little change from comparable totals for the previous year. On an industry level, performances roamed all over the map with some industries experiencing strong expansion and other industries contracting. With this spotty employment experience and an unseasonal increase in first-time claims for unemployment insurance, the current uptick in joblessness is only to be expected. On the plus side, thanks to solar farm permitting, construction values improved substantially in first quarter. And while much of the reported gross taxable sales gain resulted from a prior-period adjustment, current sales increased nicely as well. Slow job growth and variability in the other recent indicators suggests the economy shows room for improvement.

  • In the 12 months prior to March 2016, Millard County created only 13 new positions for a year-to-year change of 0.3 percent. 
  • Strong employment gains in construction, professional/business services and private educational services were basically offset by employment contraction in retail trade, information and leisure/hospitality services. 
  • An additional 23 covered agricultural jobs are not included in the nonfarm totals. 
  • Slower job growth coupled with construction layoffs in late spring to nudge Millard County’s unemployment rate up to 3.7 percent in June 2016. 
  • However, the county’s jobless rate remains relatively low. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance took an unseasonal spike in late spring/early summer. 
  • The construction industry contributed the largest number of new claims so far in 2016. 
  • Millard County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to trudge upwards. 
  • Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage increased by a healthy 4 percent. 
  • With little construction permitting data available so for this year, new nonresidential permits are dominating figures. 
  • Permitting for the solar farm can claim primary credit for the current high figures. 
  • The reported 49-percent increase in first quarter 2016 gross taxable sales shrinks to only 10 percent when prior-period adjustments are removed. 
  • Of course, 10-percent expansion is still certainly robust. 
  • Much of the current gain can be traced to increased business investment expenditures.