Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wayne County Economic Update

After regaining some of the ground lost when its largest employer shuttered its doors, Wayne County now finds its labor market stagnating. Newly available third quarter 2014 figures show employment levels registering near year-ago figures with little loss or gain. Nevertheless, beneath the surface, various industries waxed and waned. Wayne County’s unemployment rate remains high. However, rates have dropped fairly steadily since early 2013. Strong and continued sales gains continue to provide the best economic news for the area.

  • Between September 2013 and September 2014, Wayne County lost a total of six nonfarm jobs—down less than 1 percent.
  • Construction provided a hefty number of positions aided by new employment in healthcare/social services.
  • Counteracting the aforementioned gains, leisure/hospitality services experienced a decided drop in employment.
  • While losses in the public sector proved less severe, they added to the overall torpor in the job totals.
  • In December 2014, Wayne County’s jobless rate measure 8.4 percent, the highest rate in Utah. However, unemployment rates are down 4 full percentage points from the recent high in February 2013.
  • Seasonality in tourism-related jobs contributes to the county’s higher-than-average joblessness.
  • At least for the first few months of 2015, first-time claims for unemployment insurance are trending slightly lower than usual.
  • Gross taxable sales delivered the best recent economic news. Between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014, sales increased by a robust 7 percent following a five-quarter string of positive year-to-year sales gains.
  • The largest improvement in sales occurred in leisure/hospitality services.