Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Piute County Economic Update

After a brief fling with job growth, Piute County once again found itself in the job-loss trenches in third quarter 2015. The decline represents few jobs and would be less troubling if not for the county’s relatively consistent history of job loss. Despite a sluggish job environment, the county’s unemployment rate has held relatively steady over the past year and there is no sign of unusual activity in new unemployment insurance claims. In contrast with the job market, sales exhibited a strong third quarter performance. Piute County’s economy must consistently create jobs before it can be ruled economically healthy.

  • Piute County lost nine jobs between September 2014 and September 2015 resulting in a year-to-year decline of almost 4 percent. 
  • Industry-level job increases proved virtually nonexistent. 
  • Leisure/hospitality services and retail trade experienced the largest employment declines. 
  • In December 2015, Piute County’s unemployment rate measured 6.8 percent, equal to its December 2014 figure. 
  • Piute County can absorb job losses without an increase in unemployment rates because many workers travel outside the county for employment. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance followed a seasonal pattern as 2015 came to end with the largest number of claims filed in the construction industry. 
  • The county’s average monthly wage actually showed a 10-percent year-to-year gain in third quarter 2015. 
  • However, quarterly wage increases are notoriously fickle, particularly in a small county. 
  • Gross taxable sales bounced back from losses earlier in the year with a robust 15-percent third quarter increase. 
  • Strong sales in food stores, recreation and gasoline stations accounted for much of the improvement.