Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Millard County Economic Update
After a strong 2015 ending, Millard County’s employment picture clouded at the beginning of 2016. In first quarter 2016, nonfarm employment showed little change from comparable totals for the previous year. On an industry level, performances roamed all over the map with some industries experiencing strong expansion and other industries contracting. With this spotty employment experience and an unseasonal increase in first-time claims for unemployment insurance, the current uptick in joblessness is only to be expected. On the plus side, thanks to solar farm permitting, construction values improved substantially in first quarter. And while much of the reported gross taxable sales gain resulted from a prior-period adjustment, current sales increased nicely as well. Slow job growth and variability in the other recent indicators suggests the economy shows room for improvement.
In the 12 months prior to March 2016, Millard County created only 13 new positions for a year-to-year change of 0.3 percent.
Strong employment gains in construction, professional/business services and private educational services were basically offset by employment contraction in retail trade, information and leisure/hospitality services.
An additional 23 covered agricultural jobs are not included in the nonfarm totals.
Slower job growth coupled with construction layoffs in late spring to nudge Millard County’s unemployment rate up to 3.7 percent in June 2016.
However, the county’s jobless rate remains relatively low.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance took an unseasonal spike in late spring/early summer.
The construction industry contributed the largest number of new claims so far in 2016.
Millard County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to trudge upwards.
Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage increased by a healthy 4 percent.
With little construction permitting data available so for this year, new nonresidential permits are dominating figures.
Permitting for the solar farm can claim primary credit for the current high figures.
The reported 49-percent increase in first quarter 2016 gross taxable sales shrinks to only 10 percent when prior-period adjustments are removed.
Of course, 10-percent expansion is still certainly robust.
Much of the current gain can be traced to increased business investment expenditures.