Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sanpete County Economic Update

Is Sanpete County headed back toward the economic high life? It is honestly too soon to tell. However, the county did end the second quarter of 2014 with its first year-to-year employment gains in almost a year. After an early post-recession recovery, the county lost ground for much of 2013. At the moment, all available economic indicators suggest the county’s economy is improving. However, until more industries share in the employment gains, Sanpete County’s economic standing will remain somewhat precarious.

• Between June of 2013 and June 2014, Sanpete County added nearly 140 net, new jobs for a growth rate of roughly 2 percent.

• The largest employment gains originated in the public sector. Additions in state and local government totaled almost 120 positions.

• In the private sector, professional/business services took the lead. This industry includes temporary employment services and growth here is often a precursor to more permanent expansion in other industries. Manufacturing also added a notable number of new jobs.

• Unfortunately, many of the county’s industries continued to contract. In particular, employment dropped significantly in mining, construction and transportation/warehousing.

• As in most Utah counties, Sanpete County joblessness continued to trend downward. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate has dropped more than a full percentage point to measure 4.5 percent in August 2014.

• Sanpete County’s unemployment rate hasn’t registered this low since late 2008.

• Gross taxable sales certainly turned in a robust report. Between the second quarters of 2013 and 2014, sales increased by more than 7 percent. This improvement follows on the heels of the slow-to-no growth of 2013.

• Business expenditures in utilities and manufacturing coupled with gains in motor vehicle, gasoline, food and general merchandise store sales helped produce this quarter’s banner figures.

• Initial claims for unemployment insurance continue exhibit a downward trend with most claims accruing from industries with a seasonal or temporary element.