Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wayne County Economic Update

Following almost a year’s worth of strong job growth, Wayne County’s employment numbers dipped slightly by the end of second quarter 2014. In addition, the county, which lost its largest employer in 2012, continues to suffer with the highest unemployment rate in the state. Nevertheless, job totals have improved since the Aspen Health closure and joblessness is slowly contracting. Other indicators suggest the economy is slowly improving.

• Between June 2013 and June 2014, Wayne County lost about 10 jobs for a decline of just less than 1 percent.

• Drops in leisure/hospitality services and the public sector dragged down the employment totals.

• Counteracting a portion of the job loss, construction and manufacturing created a significant number of new positions.

• The county’s jobless rate measured 9.3 percent in August 2014, down more than two full percentage points from the same time last year. However, Wayne County’s jobless rate remains the highest in Utah.

• Much of the residual unemployment can likely be traced to the closure of the county’s largest employer in 2012.

• Initial claims for unemployment insurance remain very low and characteristically relate to seasonal or short-term employment.

• With a 5.4-percent year-over gain in gross taxable sales, Wayne County marked more than one year of positive sales gains.

• Business expenditures in construction combined with improved sales in the tourism-related industries of accommodations and food services to produce the healthy gross taxable sales improvement.