Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Millard County Economic Update

Recently-released nonfarm jobs data show Millard County’s employment growth easing back in the second quarter of 2014. Job fluctuations in small counties often display erratic behavior as small numeric changes result in relatively large percent changes. Despite slower job growth, Millard County’s very low jobless rate estimate suggests there isn’t a tremendous amount of wiggle room in the labor market. Other indicators also present a mixed bag of results. Coupled with diverse industry-level performances these factors point toward a rather lethargic Millard County economy in the first half of 2014.

• Between June 2013 and June 2014, Millard County’s nonfarm jobs increased by roughly 20 positions, representing a 0.5 percent increase.

• This marginal expansion conceals a wide variety of industry-level performances.

• While manufacturing, transportation/warehousing, information, education/healthcare/social services and government made notable additions to the county’s job totals, losses in construction, retail trade and leisure/hospitality services almost offset those gains.

• A surge mid-August surge in first-time unemployment claims for the manufacturing industry implies manufacturing job totals may show contraction when third quarter data are available.

• Joblessness in Millard County remains remarkably low according to unemployment rate estimates. In August 2014, the jobless rate measured a mere 3.1 percent, lower than the state average of 3.6 percent.

• Gross taxable sales slipped into negative territory as the year progressed. Between the second quarters of 2013 and 2014, Millard County’s sales dropped by 7.9 percent.

• Compared to unusually high expenditures in second quarter 2013, a drop in wholesale trade sales accounted for a large portion of the decline. However, notable declines occurred in information and real estate/leasing occurred as well.

• Increases the business expenditures category and gasoline stations helped soften the overall sales hit.

• Other than the swell in manufacturing claims, first-time claims for unemployment insurance remain low.