Monday, July 25, 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 August 22nd.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for June 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for June 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 August 19th, 2016.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Snow College plans to expand, enhance its campuses

Snow College leaders see a future with updated athletic facilities, new classroom buildings and student housing, additional course offerings and contiguous footprints that tie into the biking and walking paths of its surrounding cities. While there are no plans for Snow to mimic sister Utah colleges that have adopted four-year formats in the past decade, administrators see a need for an enhanced campus and community experience.

Utah's Board of Regents recently approved a new master plan for Snow College. It identifies locations for potential new buildings, which would fill in some of the geographical gaps between existing campus structures. While most additions are decades away, other projects are expected to begin in the next few years.

The master plan anticipates that Snow will partner with a private developer to build dorms in Richfield, and the administration could begin accepting bids near the end of this year.

At the Ephraim campus, construction has begun on a new science building, scheduled to open in fall 2017. The school hopes to begin next year with a series of phased updates to Snow's football stadium, adding lighting for night events, concessions and updated bathroom and locker-room space. The college also wants to transform the segment of Ephraim's Center Street that runs through campus by adding parking and links to bike and pedestrian paths. Salt Lake Tribune

GOED Board approves grants to help eight rural businesses

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Board of Directors approved eight rural Utah businesses for Rural Fast Track grants. The eight projects are expected to create up to 84 new jobs paying 110 and 125 percent of the counties’ average wages.

Approved Central Utah projects are listed below:

Applied Composite Technology (ACT) in Gunnison was awarded a $50,000 grant for purchasing equipment and expanding/altering facilities to meet the needs of new helicopter and aircraft contracts. The company expects to create 15 new full-time positions paying at least 110 percent of the county average wage, 20 new full-time positions paying at least 115 percent and 10 new full-time positions paying at least 125 percent of the county average wage (45 in total).

Diamond S Manufacturing in Ephraim received a $50,000 grant for purchasing a water jet cutting machine to increase production, streamline processes, expand into new markets and offer water jet cutting services to other local businesses. The company expects to create one new full-time position paying at least 110 percent of the county average wage.

Far West Construction in Mt. Pleasant will use its $50,000 grant to help construction a manufacturing facility to increase production capabilities and bring more design and engineering operations in house. The company expects to create three new full-time positions paying at least 110 percent of the county average wage, two new full-time positions paying at least 115 percent and one new full-time positions paying 125 percent (six total).

Dutson Supply Company in Delta received a $25,000 grant toward purchasing a service vehicle that will enable the company to go on-site to repair their disabled trucks. The company expects to create one new full-time positions being paid at least 110 percent of the county average wage. Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Work continues on Gunnison Prison

Layton Construction has been involved with the expansion of the Gunnison Prison. The $28 million, 53,000-square-foot project started last April and is set to be completed by this summer, with subcontractor support from companies including Sure Steel, Inc., Mountain States Fence Company and Noorda BEC, Inc. Between the three new buildings being built, 192 beds will be added to the correctional facility, as well as a new intake building and some dog training kennel facilities for K9 officers. Utah Business Magazine

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.

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