Utah tops nation in job growth; steady upward economic trend expected to continue

ST. GEORGE — A strong trend of employment growth in Utah shows no signs of slowing down, according to the state’s Department of Workforce Services.

Graphic shows Utah employment growth and unemployment rates versus the nationwide average for March 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, St. George News

Following the release of the March 2018 employment numbers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows Utah is ranked No. 1 for total job growth in the country at 3.3 percent.

The positive job growth is reflected in Southern Utah’s Washington and Iron counties with year-over employment growth rates of 5.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

Approximately 48,000 jobs have been added to the economy since March 2017. Utah’s current employment level registers 1,501,800.

“The addition of 48,000 jobs to our workforce shows the strength and staying power of Utah’s economy,” said Carrie Mayne, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services. “Holding our unemployment count under 50,000 is evidence of the alignment between our employers’ needs and the skills of our workforce.”

March’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from the prior month at 3.1 percent. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged from February at 4.1 percent.

Approximately 48,500 Utahns were unemployed during the month and actively seeking work.

“Knowing that job growth continues to grow forward,” Mayne said, “we feel confident that there’s going to be opportunities for those 48,500 individuals to find work quickly.”

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in Southern Utah stand at 3.2 percent in Washington County and 3.5 percent in Iron County.

Utah’s private sector added about 44,100 positions year-over. Eight of 10 private sector industry groups posted net job increases, with only a few hundred net losses in the natural resources, mining and other services sectors.

Statewide, the largest private sector employment increases were in the following categories:

  • Trade, transportation and utilities: 11,400 jobs.
  • Leisure and hospitality: 7,200 jobs.
  • Education and health services: 7,000 jobs.
  • Professional and business services: 7,000 jobs.

The fastest employment growth occurred in the following categories:

  • Construction: 5 percent.
  • Leisure and hospitality: 5 percent.
  • Trade, transportation and utilities: 4.2 percent.

In the St. George metropolitan area, the largest areas of private sector growth occurred in the natural resources, mining and construction category with 10.9 percent growth. Other areas of high growth occurred in financial activities at 8.3 percent; transportation, warehousing and utilities at 7.5 percent; and retail at 6.5 percent. The only sector to experience a net loss was the information category at 10 percent.

Overall job growth in the state has remained steady since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

“Some people who track the economy and think about business cycles may wonder if we are due – just by time dimension – due for an economic downturn,” Mayne said. “Looking back at Utah’s history, this actually isn’t the longest expansion, so it feels as though we likely can continue to expand.”

“We probably can do well for quite some time,” she said.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • HerePliggyWiggy April 23, 2018 at 7:56 am

    If our greedy, cult-driven politicians keep on raising the gas tax, this “growth” won’t last too long.

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