New jobs numbers show Utah ‘continues to be a strong economic environment’

ST. GEORGE — Utah has added more than 45,000 new jobs over the last year and “continues to be a strong economic environment,” according to one of the state’s senior economists.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services released its June jobs report Friday morning and noted overall employment in the state grew 3% since June 2018, which equates to 45,200 new jobs. In contrast, the nation saw a job growth of 1.5% during that time.

In Southern Utah, Washington County has seen an employment increase, growing from 67,000 jobs to an estimated 69,600, according to the jobs report. Iron county also saw an increase, from around 18,500 jobs to nearly 19,800 in the same year-over-year period.

“It has been a strong year so far,” Mark Knold, senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said of June’s job numbers.

The state’s unemployment rate is currently 2.8% compared to 3.7% nationwide, according to the report.

“The Utah economy remains strong and continues to absorb and employ labor at a fast pace,” Knold said. “The unemployment rate has lowered to 2.8%, the lowest in more than 12 years. It is remarkable that Utah can still grow the employment base by 3% given this extremely tight labor market.”

Year-over-year job numbers showing the percentage increase in various private sector jobs in Utah between June 2018 and June 2019, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. | Image courtesy of the Utah Department of Workforse Services, St. George News

Knold added that Utah’s ability to see job growth despite having a tightening labor market “shows the remarkable strength of the Utah economy.”

The majority of the jobs gained over the last year – 40,200 – came from the private sector, which is broken down into 10 industries, all of which saw an overall growth rate of 3.2% over the last year.

The largest private sector employment increases were in education and health services with 9,900 jobs; professional and business services with 8,600 jobs; and manufacturing with 6,300 jobs.

The fastest employment growth occurred in education and health services at 5%, manufacturing at 4.7% and information at 4.4%.

The increase in manufacturing employment in Utah is bucking the trend for the industry nationally, Knold said.

“Utah has ranked very high with this job growth and this low unemployment in the national rankings,” he said, noting that Utah has consistently ranked among the top states in job growth and economic performance in recent years.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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