Monday, October 22, 2012

Brief Piute County Update

When is a job loss of 0.4 percent good news? When you’re a county that has seen double-digit job losses just a few months earlier. Although Piute County has attempted to cross the threshold from economic recovery to economic expansion a few times in the last three years, it has never quite done the deed. As recently as January 2012, the county was showing year-to-year job losses of more than 16 percent. Does the minute contraction 0.4 percent employment contraction mean Piute County is ready to join the economic expansion? Honestly, it’s just too soon to tell. Here’s what the current economic indicators reveal:
  • Between June 2011 and June 2012, Piute County lost just one job. Hopefully, this sets the stage for some employment expansion in the months ahead.
  • These most-recent second quarter data reveal that the county was dogged by the loss of 20 private education/health/social services jobs in the 12 months since June 2011.
  • Fortunately, a few industries stepped up to the plate and added almost enough positions to offset the aforementioned loss. Leisure/hospitality services, other services, government and trade all contributed to the offsetting job gains.
  • Although job loss has ruled the roost in Piute County over the past several years, the county’s unemployment rate has slowly trended downward. This undoubtedly reflects the fact that a large number of Piute County residents commute outside the county for work. If residents have found employment outside the county, the jobless rate could ease downward even while the county continues to lose jobs.
  • Currently (August 2012), Piute County’s unemployment estimate registers 5.6 percent—slightly lower the comparable Utah average.
  • Piute County’s second quarter 2012 gross taxable sales registered its first decline in two years. Sales expansion has been the one bright spot in an otherwise rather bleak economic picture. The current 8-percent decline shouldn’t be seen as an economic problem unless the pattern continues.