May 21, 2012

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Utah’s Employment Summary: April 2012

Press Release

May 21, 2012

Utah’s nonfarm wage and salaried job count for April 2012, as generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), expanded by 2.1 percent compared against the employment level for April 2011. This is a 12-month increase of 25,200 jobs, and raises total wage and salary employment to 1,231,300.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate—generated by BLS—is Utah’s other primary indicator of current labor market conditions and registers 6.0 percent. Approximately 80,200 Utahns are considered to be actively unemployed. The current United States unemployment rate, as compared to last month, fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.1 percent.

Nearly all of Utah’s industrial sectors continue to add jobs over the past 12 months, the lone exception being the leisure and hospitality sector. The government sector expanded by just 800 positions, so the bulk of Utah’s employment growth is occurring within private sector businesses. On a percentage basis, the goods-producing industries (mining, construction, manufacturing) are the most robust, with a year-over growth rate of 4.1 percent. The much larger service-producing side of the economy (84 percent of all employment) is estimated to have employment gains of 1.7 percent over the past year.

Goods Producing

The natural resources and mining sector is Utah’s most forceful with employment gains over the year of 8.8 percent. In total, this sector comprises about 1.0 percent of Utah’s employment base, and so its 8.8-percent growth translates to 1,000 new jobs over the year. Most of this is being generated in the Uintah Basin, Utah’s oil and gas region abutting Wyoming and Colorado.

After five years, construction jobs are on the rebound in Utah. Approximately 1,600 new construction jobs are estimated to have developed over the past 12 months. Construction employment accounts for 5.2 percent of all Utah employment, a level that is below this sector’s historical distribution of around 6 percent.

Manufacturing jobs are estimated to have grown by 5,000 positions over the past 12 months, deeming this sector as the second best job producer, trailing only the 5,600 jobs estimated for the professional and business services sector.

Service Producing

The trade, transportation, and utilities sector is not only the largest employment sector in the service-producing side of the economy, but the largest overall industry at 19 percent of all jobs. This sector added 2,500 jobs over the past year—a 1.1 percent growth rate. The largest component in this sector is retail trade, and it actually measured 300 fewer jobs over the past year. The employment gains are occurring in the wholesale trade area, with 2,100 jobs added there. Transportation jobs grew by 700 positions, with most of the gains in truck transportation.

The Information sector includes activities such as publishing, motion pictures, telecommunications, and Internet services. It is a small employment area in Utah, making up 2.5 percent of Utah’s total. Over the past year, roughly 1,400 new jobs have been added, a 4.8 percent growth rate.

Financial activities are on the mend in Utah after the recession’s setback. About 3,100 new jobs are estimated to have developed in this sector over the past year. This sector accounts for around 6 percent of all Utah employment, but it has a high concentration (and thus higher importance) in the Salt Lake City area.

The Professional and Business Services sector added the most new jobs in Utah over the past year at 5,600. Nearly all of this growth is coming from the professional, scientific, and technical side, which is an area that generally requires high levels of education for employment and also returns higher-than-average wages. One of the big drivers in this arena is computer systems design.

Private Education and Health Services is a stalwart of the Utah economy, having grown through both of the recessions of the past decade. The industry is largely driven by growth in the local population, which is continuous in Utah one of the state’s ongoing economic stimuli. Approximately 3,900 additional jobs have been added in this sector over the past year, with most in healthcare.

The Leisure and Hospitality (L&H) sector is the only sector with job losses over the past year, being down 700 positions. This is largely a seasonal factor (winter) and should fade by summer. Snowfall this winter was well below average and negatively impacted the ski season and its lingering footprint upon the month of April.

The industry titled Other Services is a small employment sector (about 3 percent of Utah employment) that includes a potpourri of service businesses not classified in the other service producing sectors. This can range from repair shops to beauty salons to parking garages to churches. Around 800 additional jobs were added here over the past year.

The three branches of government (federal, state, and local) combined to add 800 jobs in Utah over the past year. Federal employment has fallen by nearly 2,600 positions. Local government is largely unchanged over the past year, so most of the gains are coming at the state government level (up 3,400), with state government education providing two-thirds of this increase.                                 

* Additional analysis and tables

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