Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wayne County Economic Update

As is the case for many less-populated counties, fluctuation in Wayne County’s economic indicators make reading the economy problematic. At the end of 2014, Wayne County was showing a contracting labor market. In the first quarter of 2015, job growth picked up again. Clearly, a longer track record of expansion is needed before the county can be pronounced fit in the aftermath of the loss of its largest employer in 2011. Indeed, despite the current improvement in employment, Wayne County maintains the highest unemployment rate in Utah. Registering divergent performances, construction permitting improved as sales deteriorated.

  • Between March 2014 and March 2015, Wayne County added 30 new jobs for a growth rate of nearly 4 percent.
  • However, earlier in the quarter, employment contracted.
  • The March 2015 gains can be traced almost entirely to the tourism-driven leisure and hospitality services with just a little aid from construction.
  • On the opposite side of the score card, healthcare and social services dropped a notable number of jobs.
  • The county’s jobless rate has slipped slightly in recent months.
  • In June 2015, Wayne County’s unemployment rate measured 8.7 percent, down a significant 0.6 percentage points from the previous year.
  • New claims for unemployment insurance virtually evaporated in the first half of the summer as tourism jobs became more readily available.
  • So far in 2015, construction and leisure/hospitality industries have tallied the most new claims. Wayne County’s average monthly wage declined substantially between 2011 and 2013.
  • Since that point, the average wage as trended slowly upward.
  • In the four quarters ending March 2015, Wayne County’s average monthly wage measured roughly $2,300.
  • Both residential and nonresidential construction permitting bumped up in Wayne County for the first five months of 2015.
  • Total authorized permit values increased by 27 percent when the year-to-date figures for 2014 and 2015 are compared.
  • Wayne County’s gross taxable sales contracted by 3 percent between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.
  • A prior-period adjustment and a dip in private motor vehicle sales accounted for most of the decline.
  • On the other hand, sales in leisure/hospitality services and gasoline stations generated notable gains.