Thursday, July 30, 2015

Piute County Economic Update

While Piute County’s most recent economic indicators remain far from healthy, they do show improvement. For most of the past five years, the county has shed jobs at an alarming rate. Recently-released average first quarter 2015 data shows the second slight job gain despite an erratic performance among the various months. In addition, after a slight surge in joblessness in late 2014, unemployment rates are trending downward once more. However, jobless figures continue to track higher than both state and national averages. First quarter gross taxable sales look bad, but are the result of a prior period adjustment. Without the adjustment, sales would have shown moderate progression.

  • Between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, Piute County’s nonfarm jobs increased by 1.5 percent.
  • However, by March 2015, year-to-year gains had evaporated leaving no year-to-year increase.
  • The public sector added jobs which were more than offset by losses in leisure/hospitality services.
  • Other industries experienced minor employment ebb and flow. Many Piute County workers have employment outside the county’s borders.
  • In June 2015, Piute County’s unemployment rate measured 6.0 percent.
  • In just six months, the county has erased an earlier 1.0 percentage point 2014 surge.
  • In the first half of the summer months, new unemployment insurance claims remained low.
  • So far in 2015, construction has accumulated the most first-time claims of any industry.
  • Average Piute County nonfarm wages hit their peak in 2011.
  • While the county has regained some of the 2012 wage contraction, the improvement has proved very, very slow.
  • For the four quarters ending March 2015, Piute County’s average monthly nonfarm wage measured just under $2,000.
  • Although previous construction figures are not available for comparison, Piute County’s construction permitting appeared healthy in the first five months of the year.
  • New nonresidential authorizations accounted for the majority of permit values.
  • In addition, permits for new homes appeared healthy.
  • While the first quarter 2015 25-percent year-over decline in gross taxable sales appears disheartening, it can be traced to an adjustment for a previous quarter’s figures.
  • Without the adjustment, the county’s sales would have shown a 2-percent gain between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.