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Utah Ahead Of National Curve For ‘Economic Repair’

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah has added 13,800 jobs since March 2020, showing an estimated employment increase of 0.9% over the past 12 months.

Six of Utah’s 10 private-sector major industry groups posted net year-over job gains, led by trade, transportation and utilities with 12,000 jobs; professional and business services with 10,100 jobs and construction with 5,600 jobs.

Four sectors posted net year-over job losses, led by leisure and hospitality services, which lost 9,300 jobs. Education and health care lost 2,400 jobs while natural resources and information lost 900 and 500 jobs, respectively.

“March is the first month when the economic comparison is starting to look back on the months of the COVID-19 economic disruption,” reported Mark Knold, chief economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “Job gains from here forward will start to magnify as it is compared against the job losses experienced a year ago. Utah’s underlying trend is positive, will continue and will gain steam as the year progresses. There are still COVID-19 economic setbacks to overcome. Utah, however, is ahead of the national curve in undergoing economic repair.”

The national unemployment rate for March dropped from 6.2% to 6%, while Utah’s rate was 2.9% — down from 3% in February.

Approximately 46,600 Utahns were unemployed.

Normally, a rate as low as Utah’s would be all good news, but Knold said that while people are going back to work, the unemployment rate is also falling as some step away from the workforce.

“This 2.9% is not the kind of 2.9% unemployment rates we saw before COVID,” he said.

Right now, the higher skillset levels of the economy are expanding, Knold explained, while some of the lower skillset areas are having setbacks.

“It’s somewhat of a misleading unemployment rate,” Knold said. “You would think if you’re at 2.9%, you would call that full employment — which is largely saying that anybody who wants a job could find a job — well, that’s not currently the environment.”

Here are March’s state rankings according to the Department of Workforce Services:

Unemployment:

  • Utah: 2.9%
  • Nebraska: 2.9%
  • South Dakota: 2.9%
  • Vermont: 2.9%
  • New Hampshire: 3.0%
  • Idaho: 3.2%

Total Job Change:

  1. Idaho: 1.3%
  2. Utah: 0.9%
  3. South Dakota: -1.1%

Private Sector Job Change:

  1. Idaho, Utah: 1.8%
  2. South Dakota: -1.0%
  3. Montana: -1.1%
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