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Salt Lake City — Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for December 2013 grew by an estimated 1.8 percent, adding 22,500 jobs to the economy as compared to December 2012. Utah’s current employment level registers 1,301,600.
The December seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased two tenths of a percent from November to 4.1 percent. Approximately 57,800 Utahns were unemployed in the month and actively seeking work. The national unemployment rate dropped three tenths, measuring 6.7 percent in December.
Utah’s establishment survey has estimated a fifth consecutive month of below-average job growth. The establishment survey attempts to measure employment across the state in a timely manner, providing an estimate of employment until the full census of employment is processed months later. The census numbers that are currently available (up to September 2013) show stronger employment growth in the third quarter of 2013 than was originally estimated by the establishment survey. It is likely that the fourth quarter has also been underestimated by the survey. Unemployment estimates from the household survey, which have shown consistent declines in the unemployment count, support that theory.
Nine of the 10 private sector industries posted net job increases in December as compared to last year (other sServices lost 200 jobs). The largest increases were in Education and Health (7,700 jobs), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (6,800 jobs) and Leisure and Hospitality (3,500 jobs). Government employment contracted by 5,200 jobs in the same period.