Thursday, July 30, 2015

Millard County Economic Update

Recently released economic information shows Millard County continuing to expand at a relatively consistent, if not flashy, pace. While Millard County’s job growth may seem sluggish compared to statewide performance, it falls right in line with the U.S. expansion. As in many Utah counties, the unemployment rate seems to have bottomed out. However, in Millard County, that rate is exceptionally low. Likewise, first-time claims for unemployment insurance measure at a low level. Construction permitting kicked it up a notch in recent months. Moreover, while gross taxable sales figures look bad, they reflect a change in business expenditures rather than sales at the retail level.

  • Millard County generated almost 90 new nonfarm jobs between March 2014 and March 2015, for a year-to-year growth rate of just over 2 percent.
  • In addition to the aforementioned nonfarm employment gains, the county added almost 30 positions at agricultural businesses.
  • Retail trade, wholesale trade and leisure/hospitality services appeared at the forefront of the employment gains.
  • Not all industries shared in the employment joy.
  • Manufacturing, utilities and the public sector all took noteworthy employment hits in first quarter 2015.
  • Millard County’s unemployment rate has not changed during recent months, holding steady at 3.2 percent.
  • This level of unemployment remains very low, particularly for a rural county.
  • New claims for unemployment insurance mimic this pattern with low numbers during the first half of the summer.
  • Average wages also have flattened out in recent quarters.
  • Nevertheless, the county’s average wage registers higher than most nonmetropolitan Utah counties.
  •  For the four quarters ending March 2015, Millard County’s average monthly wage measured about $3,200, virtually unchanged for the last year.
  • Construction permitting activity took a turn for the better during the first five months of 2015, posting a 631 percent year-over increase.
  • A surge in residential permitting is primarily responsible for this almost overwhelming gain.
  • On the other hand, gross taxable sales showed an astounding 34 percent drop between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.
  • Most of the large decline can be traced to a decrease in manufacturing business expenditures and a prior period adjustment in the first quarter. Most retail sectors improved nicely.