Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sevier County Economic Update

Sevier County ended 2015 with its best employment performance of the post-recession era. Job growth in the final quarter of the year remained moderate with most industries contributing to the improvement. The county’s unemployment rate has flattened in the last two years holding below the national average while first-time claims for unemployment insurance show no signs of business-cycle layoffs. In addition, construction permit values are up. While gross taxable sales appear to have taken a tumble, business investment expenditures accounted for most of the decline. All in all, the county’s indicators point to the healthiest economy in years.

• Nonfarm jobs in Sevier County grew by 2.5 percent between the December 2014 and December 2015, an addition of more than 200 jobs.

• Most industries joined in the job growth phenomenon with the largest gains occurring in healthcare/social services and leisure/hospitality services.

• In contrast, both trade and local government lost a notable number of positions.

• Sevier County’s jobless rate has changed little over the past two years.

• In March 2016, the county’s unemployment rate measured 4.3 percent, nestled between the national (5.0 percent) and the statewide (3.5 percent) figures.

• The area’s relatively stable jobless rate suggests the labor market is expanding sufficiently to absorb new labor force entrants.

• In the first few months of the year, first-time claims for unemployment insurance followed a traditional seasonal pattern with no signs of unusual stress.

• So far this year, construction, retail trade and professional/business services (all with temporary or seasonal components) have generated the most claims activity.

• As in most Utah counties, Sevier County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to trend upward. Between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015 the average wage increased by nearly 5 percent.

• Construction permitting increased nicely in 2015 showing a 14 percent uptick.

• Both new residential and nonresidential permitting improved.

• Gross taxable sales experienced a year-to-year loss of 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

• The change resulted primarily from a decline in manufacturing business investment expenditures rather than in traditional sales.

• Motor vehicle dealers, building supplies/gardening stores, general merchandise stores, and food services showed particularly strong gains.