Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brief Millard County Update

Millard County’s employment history is riding the rollercoaster that often appears when a large construction project hits a small county. First employment increases dramatically. Then once the project is concluded, those jobs disappear. Currently Millard County’s employment is on the downhill slide of the construction-job rollercoaster. Unfortunately, other indicators paint a rather disjointed picture for the rest of the economy. Here are the main points:

  • Between March 2011 and March 2012, Millard County’s nonfarm jobs decreased by 4.3 percent.
    The overall loss in jobs totaled 171. 
  • However, construction alone accounted for 119 lost positions as the result of wind farm completion. Nevertheless, other sectors also participated in the contraction. Both leisure/hospitality services and manufacturing experienced substantial job losses.
  • Employment gains among Millard County’s industries appeared few and far between. Professional/business services, transportation/warehousing, and unemployment-insurance-covered agriculture (not included in the nonfarm totals) showed the only gains of note.
  • Since many of the aforementioned lost-construction jobs were held by individuals whose permanent residences lie outside of Millard County, the current job contraction has had little effect on the unemployment rate. The county’s jobless rate continues to ever-so-slowly decline. In fact, Millard County’s May 2012 unemployment rate measured a mere 4.7 percent—far below both state and national averages. Initial claims are also down from recent years supporting the decrease in the jobless rate.
  • Millard County did see a spate of homebuilding in 2011, but the first four months of 2012 display a much bleaker picture. January-to-April approved home permits are down almost 60 percent as are total permitted values.
  • Although in much of central and southwestern Utah, gross taxable sales are a spot of economic light, not so in Millard County. First quarter 2012 sales dropped 28 percent from comparable 2011 figures. Plus, the current loss marks a full year of declining gross taxable sales.