Friday, July 26, 2013

Sanpete County Economic Update

Following a surge of robust employment gains in 2012, Sanpete County began 2013 with a much slower job growth rate. Now instead of being the economic envy of its neighbors, its performance is on par the rest of the area.

Other economic indicators point to a mixed bag of performances. Here are a few details:

  • Between March 2012 and March 2013, Sanpete County added 72 net new jobs for a year-to-year growth rate of just 1 percent. That’s down substantially from the 6-percent peak growth in mid-2012.
  • The goods-producing industries of construction and manufacturing managed the largest job gains. Construction employment is up a whopping 24 percent from March of last year, while manufacturing generated a health 8-percent increase.
  • Transportation/warehousing and private education/health/social services also added a notable number of new positions.
  • Despite strong performances in the aforementioned industries, distinct job losses in retail trade and the leisure/hospitality industry proved responsible for the overall slowdown in labor market expansion.
  • Although job growth decelerated, the county’s jobless rate continued to trend downward. In June 2013, the county’s unemployment rate measured 6.6 percent—down more than a full percentage point from June 2012.
  • Sanpete County’s unemployment ratio remains significantly higher than the statewide average of 4.7 percent. However, much of this difference can be traced to the seasonal nature of the county’s employment base.
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance have settled back into a seasonal rather than cyclical pattern. So far in 2013, the highest number of claims appeared from the construction industry. This situation is typical even during boom times due to the project-to-project nature of the building business.
  • As of March 2013, Sanpete County has yet to join in the statewide home-building permit resurgence—although nonresidential permitting is up slightly for the first quarter of the year. However, keep in mind that it is early days yet and permitting could improve dramatically as additional data becomes available.
  • Sanpete County’s first quarter 2013 gross taxable sales marked the eight straight quarter of year-to-year increases. However, as with employment growth, the rate of expansion slowed. Between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013 sales expanded by just 2 percent.