ST. GEORGE — The latest Utah unemployment report says the state’s jobless rate has remained steady for the fourth straight month, while Washington and Iron counties are seeing a growth in hiring.
The report, released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services on Sept. 16, shows an unemployment rate of 2.0% in each of the last four months. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate rose 0.2%, from 3.5% to 3.7%.
Approximately 35,500 Utahns are currently unemployed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national number of unemployed people rose to 6,014 million. This was an increase of 344,000 people and the highest national number since February.
“This month’s economic data continues to hold strong in the face of national dialogue about inflation and other economic hurdles,” said Mark Knold, Chief Economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS). “Both the national and Utah jobs data are robust and show that hiring remains strong. The national unemployment rate moved up a little, but when said rates are as low as they currently are, small upward movements are not viewed as a concern.”
The employment rate has seen a 3.4% increase since last year. St. George Municipal Statistical Area (as titled by DWS) shows increases in the four main categories of non-agricultural employment industries: private sector, goods-producing, service-providing and local government.
In the St. George area, The biggest increase in comparison to July was within the service-providing industry with a 2,100-job increase, followed by local government jobs with a 1,900-job increase.
The leisure and hospitality area saw 500 jobs added in the last 12 months, with a 5.4% increase under service provider businesses.
Even though there were fewer jobs added, the wholesale and retail trade saw the biggest percentage of increase since last year. Wholesale came in at 7.1% percent change while retail had a modest 6.2%.
Construction employment remains growing as 100 jobs have been added each month over the last three months, giving an increase of 9.1% since the same time last year.
“Vitality is still the main characteristic of Utah’s economic variables,” Knold said.
The following fields of jobs in the St. George area remained the same for 12 months: information, financial activities, the federal government and state government. Only one job field saw a decrease in the last year, which was transportation, warehousing, and utilities. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities saw a decrease of 2.2% and about 100 jobs.
After local government jobs had been on a downward slide, they saw a rebound in August. Positions with area city and county agencies went from 5,300 in June to 4,800 in July, but jumped to 6,700 in August.
The numbers released per county show an increase within both Washington and Iron counties. Washington County last year had employment of 77,070, whereas this year it was at 81,115 in August. Iron County was 21,987 in 2021 versus 23,351 currently.
Southern Utah counties are among the top employers in the state in the latest numbers. Kane County had the fourth-highest increase at 6.3% in employment statewide, with Iron County (6.2%, fifth) and Washington County (5.2%, sixth) just behind. The top three were Piute County (8.3%), Summit (7.6%) and Morgan County (6.4%).
Daggett County (-4.9%), Rich County (-2.0%), Tooele County (-0.9%), and Carbon County (-0.9%) are the four Utah counties that have been seeing employment decrease since 2021.
The most populous county in Utah, Salt Lake County, saw almost 20,000 jobs added since Aug. 2021. This was a 2.7% increase, with 774,361 currently employed.
Salt Lake Metropolitan Statistical Area saw huge increases in both construction (+11%) and information (+10.5%).
In neighboring states, Nevada reported no change in their unemployment rate while Arizona showed an increase. Nevada had 4.4% unemployment for both July and August, while Arizona jumped from 3.3% to 3.5%.
Nevada reported a loss in jobs within their main industry, leisure and hospitality, dropping 5,200 jobs since July. In contrast, Arizona saw an increase of 600 jobs in leisure and hospitality.
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