ST. GEORGE — The economy in Southern Utah and the state as a whole has continued to perform well with steady job growth and relatively low unemployment, according to the latest employment report issued by the state’s Department of Workforce Services.
Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for December 2017 grew by an estimated 2.7 percent, adding 38,800 jobs to the economy since December 2016; the current employment level registers nearly 1.5 million positions. The total year-over-year job growth was 2.8 percent in 2017.
December’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from the prior month to 3.1 percent, lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. Approximately 49,700 Utahns were unemployed in December and actively seeking work.
“With a full picture of 2017, Utah’s economic performance compared favorably to the rest of the United States,” Carrie Mayne, chief economist for the Department of Workforce Services, said in a news release. “Utah’s labor market experienced a solid year of steady, sustainable expansion with job growth averaging 3.1 percent and unemployment at 3.5 percent.”
Utah’s private sector employment grew by 2.8 percent year-over-year with the addition of 33,500 positions.
The largest private sector employment increases were in leisure and hospitality at 8,300 jobs, construction at 6,300 jobs and education and health services at 6,300 jobs. Two sectors, natural resources/mining and information, saw a net loss in employment.
Mirroring the state as a whole, Southern Utah saw continuous growth from December 2016 to December 2017.
In Washington County, employment grew by 3.9 percent year-over-year, with over 2,200 jobs added, bringing the total nonfarm positions to 64,772. Construction, hospitality and health care were among the top sectors to add new jobs.
Unemployment claims are also at a historical low in in Washington County, according to Workforce Services.
With a growth rate of 2.8 percent, Iron County added about 500 jobs year-over-year, increasing the county’s workforce to 18,888 nonfarm positions.
Workforce Services describes Iron County’s economy as “strong, energetic and healthy,” with the high job growth occurring in manufacturing and construction sectors.
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