Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Piute County Economic Update

Since the end of the national recession, growth in nonfarm jobs has been a rare occurrence in Piute County. Unfortunately, fourth quarter 2015 kept to the job-loss side of the fence. While many Piute County residents work outside the county, unemployment remains stubbornly high. On the other hand, first-time claims for unemployment insurance are following a noncyclical, seasonal pattern. Plus, gross taxable sales improved nicely in the fourth quarter of 2015. Despite some positives, Piute County’s economy continues to struggle.

• Between December 2014 and December 2015, Piute County’s nonfarm job totals dropped 9.2 percent reflecting 22 lost jobs.

• Job losses touched almost every major industry.

• Leisure/hospitality services and government were responsible for most of the employment contraction.

• Joblessness has decreased somewhat during the past year.

• The county’s unemployment rate measured 5.9 percent in March 2016, down almost a full percentage point from March 2015.

• Piute County unemployment rate can decline in the midst of job losses because many workers travel outside the county for employment.

• New unemployment insurance claims remain low with most claims so far this year originating in construction.

• The county’s average monthly nonfarm wage continued to edge upward despite employment shrinkage. In fact, between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015, the average wage increased by 11 percent.

• In fourth quarter 2015, gross taxable sales grew (year-over-year) by 9.8 percent. Unfortunately, most of the gain resulted from prior period adjustments.

• Gasoline stations showed some of the strongest gains.