Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Piute County Economic Update

Piute County once again found itself losing nonfarm jobs during the second quarter of 2014. Since the recession began, Piute County’s employment has contracted in all but four months. Compared with the county’s 2007 peak in nonfarm jobs (about 360 positions), employment today stands at less than 250, a decline of almost 30 percent. Nevertheless, the county’s jobless rate continues to edge downward as workers leave the county, the labor market or find jobs in neighboring areas. Other indicators certainly paint a brighter picture than jobs portray.

• Piute County lost 35 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014, shedding almost 14 percent of its nonfarm total.

• Losses in trade/transportation/utilities compounded declines in leisure/hospitality services and government.

• Most industry-level employment remained static.

• Remarkably, the county’s unemployment rate measured 4.2 percent in August 2014. That figure represents almost a full percentage-point drop over the previous 12 months.

• A contracting labor force coupled with significant commuting to outside jobs helped lower joblessness in Piute County.

• First-time claims for unemployment insurance remain very low.

• Gross taxable sales managed a robust 19-percent increase between the second quarters of 2013 and 2014.

• Most of the gain resulted from an adjustment to sales figures for a prior period.

• Business expenditures plus stronger sales at food/beverage stores and gasoline stations helped drive up sales totals.