Monday, April 28, 2014

Millard County Economic Update

As with most less-populated counties, Millard County’s nonfarm job performance rarely follows a straight path. The county ended 2013 with another quarter of employment expansion. The year-over rate of growth (1.6 percent in December 2013) proved rather lackluster. On the other hand, Millard County has consistently added rather than lost employment for more than a year—no small feat for a county in central Utah. Moreover, in-process and announced energy-related projects should help expand the county’s labor force offerings.

Between December 2012 and December 2013, Millard County added roughly 60 net new jobs. Manufacturing, healthcare/social service and professional/business services made the most notable employment contributions. In addition, construction, leisure/hospitality services and government joined the job creation party. Losses in wholesale trade and utilities did put a drag on overall gains.

Although Millard County’s job growth may not be the most exciting figure around, employment expansion has certainly proved sufficient to preserve its low unemployment rate. At 3.6 percent in March 2013, Millard County’s jobless rate registers lower than the state figure (4.1 percent), which is highly unusual for a rural area. In addition, Millard County’s jobless rate has remained low despite a reported influx of population (new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates). Finally, the county’s first-time claims for unemployment insurance are running at their lowest level since the end of the recession.

Rounding out this respectable economic report, gross taxable sales made moderate gains at year-end. Between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2013, Millard County sales increased by 4.5 percent.