Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist
With a full quarter of expanding jobs under its belt, Wayne County’s economy is beginning to show some signs of resurgence. Between September 2012 and September 2013, Wayne County added 25 net new jobs for a growth rate of almost 3 percent. However, the county continues to suffer the adverse effects of the closure of its largest employer in 2011. Employment totals are still fall below those of the recessionary year of 2009.
In spite of the overall increase in nonfarm employment, the area’s various major sectors presented a mixed bag of performances. On the positive side, mining, construction, wholesale trade, private education/health/social services and leisure/hospitality services all generated significant numbers of new positions. However, employment in the public sector took a decided step backward. Most of the remaining industries lost a small number of jobs as well.
Wayne County remains the only county in central Utah exhibiting a higher unemployment rate now than during the recession. The rate has slid downward in the last year, but remains the highest rate in the state at 11.3 percent in December 2013.
Sales made strong improvements in recent months. Between the third quarters of 2012 and 2013, Wayne County's gross taxable sales increased by 10 percent.
Wayne County’s economy is certainly beginning to mend. Jobs are starting to grow once more and joblessness is starting to ebb somewhat. Nevertheless, the labor market has a long road to travel before it matches the employment levels of years past.