Monday, July 29, 2013

Millard County Economic Update

Millard County is no stranger to the ebb and flow of employment produced by large construction projects. Between 2010 and 2012, that cycle of job gain and job loss has been readily apparent. Currently, the county has basically moved past that cycle and is adding jobs at a fairly tepid rate. However, these current slow-growth jobs should prove a more permanent addition to the Millard County labor market.

While not in perfect alignment, the county’s other economic indicators point to a healthier economy. Read below for a few highlights.

  • Recently released jobs data show slower growth. Between March 2012 and March 2013, the county showed a net gain of almost 60 jobs—up 1.5 percent. 
  • Employment gains proved particularly strong in business services and manufacturing.
  • On the other hand, wholesale trade, leisure/hospitality services, and the public sector showed notable net losses in payroll jobs.
  • As in most Utah counties, joblessness continued to gradually decline. As of June 2013, Millard County’s unemployment rate measured 4.5 percent.
  • Millard County’s jobless ratio registers below the statewide average of 4.7 percent—an unusual condition for a nonurban county.
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance continued at a low summer level—generally below figures for the last several years.
  • Despite strong job gains, the professional/business service industry showed the highest number of initial claims year-to-date. Keep in mind that this industry does include temporary employment services.
  • Residential construction permitting started the year on the right foot. For the first quarter of 2013, the number of new home permits approved is up by 25 percent.
  • New nonresidential permit values are down somewhat compared to last year. However, the year has barely begun and values can change rapidly in this volatile indicator.
  • Gross taxable sales took a nice uptick when the first quarters of 2012 and 2013 are compared. This marks only the third straight quarter of improving sales figures.
  • In contrast, the number of new cars and light trucks slipped slightly in the first quarter of 2013—especially when compared to vigorous gain in the fourth quarter of 2012.