Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Millard County Economic Update

Although Millard County briefly flirted with job loss at midyear, its employment has expanded moderately for most of 2015. In fact, fourth quarter turned in the strongest growth numbers of the year. Relatively steady employment expansion coupled with a persistently low jobless rate suggests the labor market is creating enough positions for new entrants. The trend in first-time claims for unemployment insurance also points to a balanced labor market free of cyclical distress. A strong showing in construction also points to a stable, yet growing Millard Count economy. The only somewhat sour note in this basically sweet story was a decline in gross taxable sales.

• Between December 2014 and December 2015, Millard County added 100 new jobs for an expansion rate of 2.5 percent.

• Although not particularly exciting, in this case, slow and steady employment growth may just win the race with broad-based expansion.

• No major industry lost employment. However, wholesale trade, professional/business services and leisure/hospitality services contributed the highest number of new jobs.

• Millard County’s unemployment rate has been hanging out just above the 3-percent mark for more than a year.

• In March 2016, the county’s jobless rate measured 3.3 percent, below the statewide average of 3.5 percent. • New unemployment insurance claims are being filed at a level common to the seasonal pattern of the last three years, with no signs of major layoffs.

• The seasonal construction industry contributed the largest number of new claims so far in 2016.

• Millard County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to edge upward. Between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015, the average wage increased by a healthy 4 percent.

• Construction permitting ended 2015 on a high note with a 40-percent annual increase in permitting values. • Permitting for industrial buildings drove up new nonresidential values.

• Home permits reached the highest level since before the recession.

• While gross taxable sales showed a substantial 19-percent loss between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015, most of the decline can be traced to prior-period adjustments.

 • Without the prior-period adjustments, sales showed only slight slippage.

• Motor vehicle sales proved particularly strong in contrast the notable year-to-year decline in business investment expenditures.