Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Preliminary 2011 Unemployment Rates now available

Preliminary unemployment rates are now available for each of Utah's counties. Although these rates will be revised next month as the figures go through the Bureau of Labor Statistics' "benchmarking" process, they provide a quick look at Utah's unemployment hot spots.

As you can see from the map, unemployment in Utah has a definite geographic flavor. The southeast corner of Utah demonstrates some of the highest jobless figures. In particular, Grand, San Juan, Garfield, and Wayne counties all show double-digit unemployment rates. This isn't a particularly unusual state of affairs. San Juan County's high rate of unemployment reflects, in part, the significant level of joblessness among the county's native American population. Grand, Wayne, and Garfield counties are all heavily dependent on seasonal tourism-related employment which generally keeps their jobless rates among the highest in the state. In addition, Wayne County has just suffered the loss of its largest employer.

In addition, Washington, Iron, Juab, Sanpete and Box Elder counties displayed unemployment rates above or near the 9-percent mark in 2011. (Utah's jobless rate measured 7 percent.) Recessionary employment losses in manufacturing and/or construction hit these counties hard.

Counties with the lowest unemployment levels in 2011 tended to be located in the northeast and Wasatch Front areas. The Unitah Basin with its current influx of oil/gas jobs showed particularly low joblessness. Again, the metropolitan areas of the Wasatch Front generally show lower unemployment than the more rural areas of Utah. In this case, Millard County with its 5.5 percent unemployment rate is a major exception.

You can download these annual unemployment rates by using the toolbar located at the bottom of the graphic.