Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sanpete County Economic Update

Sanpete County finished 2015 with continued strong employment expansion. Job growth remains moderate and fairly broad-based while unemployment continues to hover in the full-employment range. New claims for unemployment insurance are following a seasonal, noncyclical pattern. Construction also showed improvement in 2015. On the other hand, gross taxable sales did experience a slight decline, but at the root of the decrease lay volatile business-investment expenditures rather than consumer spending. Overall, the economy appears hale and hearty.

• Between December 2014 and December 2015, Sanpete County’s nonfarm jobs grew by 3.5 percent, adding almost 270 new positions.

• While most industries did display job increases, leisure and hospitality services sustained a notable employment hit.

• Manufacturing created the largest number of industry-level jobs with construction, retail trade and professional/business services following close behind.

• At 4.0 percent in March 2016, Sanpete County’s jobless rate remained low and certainly in the full-employment range.

• Jobless rates are currently running at the lowest levels since the end of the recession.

• During the first few months of 2016, new unemployment insurance claims followed the seasonal pattern of the past several years with no sign of cyclical layoffs.

• Thanks to its project-to-project nature, construction accounted for a large share of current 2016 claims activity.

• As in most Utah counties, Sanpete County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to slowly improve. The year-to-year fourth quarter increase proved particularly strong at 5 percent.

• Construction permitting data suggest Sanpete County’s building environment improved dramatically during 2015.

• The number of new home permits rose in 2015 compared to 2014, but remains low from an historical perspective.

• Gross taxable sales did slipped by 2.3 percent between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015.

• The primary reason for the dip was a year-to-year decrease in business investment expenditures in the manufacturing industry.

• On the consumer side, retail sales were up with strong gains at building materials/garden stores and general merchandise stores.