September 23, 2013

Cover Story

CEO of the Year

Utah’s business landscape is rich with professionals who have le...Read More

Featured Articles

Did you go Skiing this winter?

Around Utah


Martin Plaehn

Karen Sendelback

Legal Briefs
Social Media and Employers: Friends or Enemies?

Money Talk
The Case for HSAs

Economic Insight
Time to Show Up

Lessons Learned
Make a Move

In the Lab

Rent to Own

Business Trends
Back from the Dead

Living Well
Artful Inspiration

A Breath of Fresh Air

Worst-Case Scenario

Regional Report
Northern Utah

Measure Up

Industry Outlook
Travel & Tourism



Utah’s Unemployment Rate Won’t Budge

By Heather Stewart

September 23, 2013

The state’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in August, according to the latest report from the Department of Workforce Services. The rate has bounced between 4.6 percent and 4.7 percent for the past five months.

Utah started out the year with an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, which steadily declined until April, when it hit 4.7 percent and essentially stayed put.

Carrie Mayne, chief economist for DWS, said the stagnant unemployment rate obscures the fact that the state is experiencing employment growth. “The job growth rate is really where the story is told,” she said.

In August, the state’s employment growth rate was 2.7 percent and, year over year, 33,200 jobs were added to the economy. The reason the unemployment rate remained firm while job growth expanded is due to people newly entering the workforce. Some of those people get jobs quickly, said Mayne, while others are counted as unemployed.

Currently, about 65,000 Utahns are unemployed and actively seeking jobs.

In February and March, the state had a very robust employment growth rate of 4 percent. By summer, that growth rate had fallen below 3 percent, registering at 2.2 percent in June. The state’s long-term average employment growth rate is 3.1 percent.

“Utah’s expansion continues on track, though there will always be months below average,” said Juliette Tennert, chief economist for Gov. Gary Herbert. “Since the recovery took hold more than two years ago, Utah has consistently grown at about twice the national rate.”

The national job growth rate was 1.7 percent in August; the national unemployment rate sits at 7.3 percent, down slightly from 7.4 percent last month.

Every private-sector industry in Utah accrued job increases from the previous year. The largest increases were in trade, transportation and utilities (10,500 jobs), leisure and hospitality (6,800 jobs), and education and health (5,500 jobs).

Mayne also noted that the information sector continues to flourish in Utah. “That is one of our brighter spots,” she said. “We’ve got this corridor of technology in the northern Utah County and southern Salt Lake County area, and that is showing in our numbers.”

While the overall employment numbers in the information industry are not large—it accounts for about 35,000 workers—these are valuable, high-paying jobs, said Mayne. And its job growth rate sits at 12 percent.

On the other hand, the construction industry is not faring as well as many hoped. Based on permitting data, said Mayne, “we expected construction employment to be on a bit stronger path than it is on.”

The construction industry is adding jobs, but its growth rate of 1.6 percent is unusually low. Mayne said there may be an anomaly in the survey data that will be corrected when the hard numbers come in.

Another factor tamping down employment growth in Utah is the effects of sequestration, said Mayne. Sequestration is impacting federal government employment, as well as private-sector contractors. 

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Best Companies to Work For 2015Utah Business Event
Dec 10, 2015
Utah Business magazine is thrilled to announce the 2015 Best Companies to Work for Event! This y...
Community Events View All
Empowering Self and Others: Become and Awakener
Dec 1, 2015
Uncover the secrets of empowerment. Whether you are a parent, a teacher or a Coach, you’ll find ...
Secrets to Financing your Business
Dec 1, 2015
Register:  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
* Event Description: