Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Millard County Economic Update

After more than two years of expansion, Millard County took a break from job growth in the third quarter of 2015. Although jobs picked up a bit by quarter-end, public-sector losses hampered labor market growth. However, other economic indicators currently show no signs of distress. New claims for unemployment insurance are basically holding in a seasonal pattern and jobless rates remain low. Construction permitting proved robust in 2015 and sales showed a sturdy third-quarter gain. The current slowdown may prove temporary but certainly bears watching.

  • Between September 2014 and September 2015, Millard County added 20 new jobs for a tepid growth rate of 0.5 percent. 
  • Declines in state and local government employment proved the major factor in the employment growth slowdown. Utilities and manufacturing also suffered notable losses. 
  • On the positive side of the ledger, wholesale trade, private education/health/social services and leisure/hospitality services all generated significant numbers of new positions. 
  • Despite the public-sector losses, Millard County’s unemployment rate has held relatively steady for the past two years at a low rate. 
  • In December 2015, joblessness measured 3.5 percent, unchanged from a year earlier. 
  • In addition, with the exception of a blip in early autumn, first-time claims for unemployment insurance seem to be holding in a seasonal pattern. 
  • While job growth paused, the county’s average wage actually ticked up a notch. 
  • Third quarter showed a particularly healthy 3.5-percent year-to-year gain. 
  • Nonresidential permitting for industrial buildings took the lead in generating a 57-percent increase in total values for the first 11 months of 2015. 
  • The number of new home permits held steady when compared with 2014. 
  • With almost a 7-percent increase, Millard County’s gross taxable sales turned in a strong third quarter performance. 
  • Much of the rise can be traced to a prior-period adjustment. However, retail trade, accommodations and food services all showed notable gains.