Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sanpete County Economic Update

Sanpete County’s economy tells a story of employment rags to riches. In 2012, Sanpete County produced one of the strongest job-growth performances in the region. However, after slowing to a trickle, jobs are now basically treading water according to recently released figures. Construction is the one indicator showing substantial improvement. However, don’t be floored by the growth rates—particularly in residential building. Because home-building had basically come to a standstill in 2012, a relatively small number of new dwelling unit permits generated an excessive growth rate. Gross taxable sales mirrored the weakness in the labor market. All in all, the economy is more fragile this year than last. To read the current highlights and view graphic visualizations, click "read more."

  •  Sanpete County’s nonfarm jobs declined by 11 positions between June 2012 and June 2013. The accompanying rate of decline measured a mere 0.1 percent. In other words, employment remained essentially flat.
  • Although the total number of jobs remained almost unchanged, Sanpete County’s major industries showed a wealth of diverse activity.
  • A majority of industries lost employment. In particular, the public sector (including federal, state and local government) showed the largest employment declines. Mining and retail trade also contributed noticeably to the county’s job losses.
  • Fortunately, construction and private education/health and social services generated enough new positions to almost counteract other industry losses.
  • Not surprisingly, earlier declines in joblessness stalled somewhat in recent months. However, at 6.4 percent in August 2013, Sanpete County’s unemployment rate registered 0.8 of a point lower than it did just twelve months earlier.
  • Because of the relatively small presence of the federal government in Sanpete County, it was spared the recent spike in shutdown-related unemployment insurance claims apparent among many of its neighbors. Despite job losses in several industries, initial claims stayed on a seasonal pattern.
  • During the first four months of 2013, Sanpete County experienced its first improvement in home dwelling permits since the recession. Nevertheless, the number of dwelling permits remains small. Yet with gains in nonresidential permitting values, the county’s construction picture certainly appears much brighter than in 2012.
  • Sanpete County’s first quarter 2013 gross taxable sales marked the eighth 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 grew by just 2 percent.
  • Gross taxable sales took a turn for the worse in the second quarter. After two years of expansion, second quarter sales dropped a slight 1 percent on a year-over basis.