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Utah’s nonfarm wage and salaried job count for July 2012, as generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), expanded by 2.0 percent compared against the employment level for July 2011. This is a 12 month increase of 24,500 jobs, and raises total wage and salary employment to 1,223,400.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate—generated by BLS—is Utah’s other primary indicator of current labor market conditions and registers 6.0 percent. The rate has been sitting at 6.0 percent for the past four months. Approximately 81,700 Utahns are considered to be actively unemployed. The current United States unemployment rate, as compared to last month, increased to 8.3 percent.
July’s year-over growth of 2.0 percent contrasts with June’s 2.6 percent 12-month growth, suggesting a noticeable slowing in Utah’s job creation. However, this is not the intimation of the greater underlying trend. The current slowing growth is instead a reflection of a better-than historical average performance last year, for July of 2011. Therefore, the comparison back against that month with this year’s data makes July look like a weakening of the economy. The current analysis is a one-month anomaly, and overall growth is expected to rebound with next month’s profile.
All industries remain in a 12-month growth mode, except construction. After several months of posting over-the-year job gains, the construction employment estimate for July is once again negative. The estimated setback underlies the volatile nature of this industry, even on a monthly basis.
Natural resources and mining remain Utah’s strongest growth sector with employment gains over-the-year of 6.8 percent, or 800 jobs, most of which originates in the Uintah Basin. This does, however, represent a slowing of the growth rate in relation to the earlier months of this year.
As mentioned, construction is estimated to have fewer jobs this month than in July 2011—down 900 positions. This is probably the result of some large infrastructure projects around Utah winding down.
Manufacturing jobs are estimated to have grown by 5,000 over the past 12 months. This makes manufacturing the second largest job producer in Utah. The gains are occurring in both durable and nondurable products.
Utah’s largest employment sector is trade, transportation, and utilities. Overall, July was noted for its slowing of employment in relation to last year, and much of that slowdown can be traced to this industry—particularly retail trade. Whereas the 12-month employment change in retail trade for June was up 1.5 percent, the July estimate has 12 month employment down by 0.1 percent.
On a percentage basis, the Information sector is the second fastest growing in Utah at 6.1. Because of the limited amount of detail surveyed in this industry, it is not possible to pinpoint exactly where this growth is occurring.
Financial activities are on the mend in Utah after the recession’s setback. About 2,300 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, the majority of which is concentrated in the Salt Lake City area.
The Professional and Business Services sector added the most new jobs in Utah over the past year at 7,300. Nearly all of this growth is coming from the professional, scientific, and technical side, which is an area that generally requires greater levels of education for employment and also returns higher-than-average wages. The remainder is coming from a potpourri of services such as security, landscaping, janitorial, building maintenance, and waste management.
Private Education and Health Services is a stalwart of the Utah economy, having grown through both of the recessions of the past decade. Employment gains of only 0.9 percent last month (on a 12-month basis) have given way to gains of 2.8 percent for this month. Last month’s estimate appears to be an underestimation anomaly, as the current month’s estimate fits better with the longer-term growth estimates for the earlier months of 2012.
The Leisure and Hospitality sector is estimated to have added 500 new jobs over the past 12 months. This is a tepid rate of employment growth for an industry reliant upon the summer months for a good portion of its prosperity.
Government employment is estimated to be up 1,200 positions over the past 12 months. Most of this growth is coming at the state government level—in both education and non education. Federal government employment is down by 2,600 positions, mostly at the IRS and the Postal Service. Local government showed minor employment increases over the past 12 months.