ST. GEORGE —According to the Salt Lake Commerce “Roadmap to Prosperity” released last month, the state’s economy continues to recover while consumer confidence falls.
“We continue to see robust gains in several important sectors of Utah’s economy like construction, financial services, manufacturing, and trade,” Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance said in a news release. “Despite a headwind against consumer confidence created by the rapid rise of the COVID delta variant over the summer, our economy remains stable and on pace to continue a growth trajectory.”
The roadmap indicated that the state ranks second in the nation for the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6%, and a 3.5% two-year job growth rate, adding that those values are the best they have been since before the pandemic.
According to the Department of Workforce Services, Washington County mirrors the state’s unemployment rate of 2.6%, while Iron County comes in only slightly higher at 2.7% and Kane County at 2.9%. On the other hand, Garfield County’s numbers came in the highest in the state at 6.7%, 1.5% higher than the national average.
As an additional sign of recovery, Utah’s air travel numbers have exceeded the 2019 average for the first time since 2019 with 2.25 million passengers coming through the Salt Lake City Airport.
“The rebound in travel bodes well for our tourism economy,” Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute said. “And our strong position in job creation shows Utah is poised to continue leading the nation out of the pandemic recession. Coupled with stable construction and booming retail sales tax revenue, unemployment claims steadily declining position our state to weather remaining challenges with strength.”
Mark Knold, chief economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services said in a podcast that in the coming months, the state is expected to face more challenges as the delta variant makes its way around communities. Consumer confidence has steadily declined with August showing levels lower than October of last year.
“When consumers sense the unknown, like the playing out of the delta variant from our current perspective, they tend to tighten up on spending,” Knold said. “We are seeing this with not just the Utah economic numbers, but also at the national level.”
Concerning the rising cases of delta variant, Mikelle Moore, co-chair of the Salt Lake Chamber, suggested that if Utahns remains vigilant and work together with perseverance, the economy will continue to recover. Likewise, Miller mentioned that labor force participation and employee vaccination should continue to be encouraged to keep the state’s economic trajectory.
For more information, stats and interactive charts visit Salt Lake Chamber Roadmap to Prosperity.
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