Friday, January 25, 2013

Brief Piute County Update

Piute County has not experienced any year-to-year job growth since the end of the recession. While many rural counties have vacillated between job-loss and job-gain through the recovery, Piute County just continues to shed nonfarm employment. Recently released third-quarter jobs data show a county which just has not yet dug its way out of the recession. During the third quarter, year-over job losses ranged from 4.1 percent to 10.7 percent. Let’s take a quick look at the county’s current economic indicators.

• The third quarter job contraction was at its worst in the final month of the quarter—September. Between September 2011 and September 2012, Piute County lost another 30 positions for a decline of almost 11 percent.

• Most major industrial sectors actually displayed little change in job totals. Private education/health/social services continued as the primary driver of loss and a decline in public sector positions placed a further drag on the labor market.

• Despite an ongoing track-record of job loss, Piute County’s unemployment rate has continued to drop. How can this be? Partially because so many county workers commute to other areas for employment. In addition, unemployment rates can diminish because workers leave the labor force or move away.

• In November 2012, Piute County’s unemployment rate registered 5.5 percent—just slightly higher than the state average. Moreover, the current level of joblessness is fairly low when compared to many rural counties.

• Third quarter gross taxable sales are not yet released. So, they cannot shed further light on the state of the Piute County economy. However, this is one area where the county has shined in recent months. In only one quarter of the past eight quarters has Piute County failed to experience an increase in sales.