Utah unemployment falls to 2.1% in February
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s unemployment rate fell to an estimated 2.1% in February — a record low for the state, according to the Department of Workforce Services.
The national unemployment rate also fell in February, now at 3.8%.
Utah’s employment increased an estimated 4.2% over the last year, Workforce Service’s report said. Looking back to right before the pandemic began, February 2020, Utah has added 66,000 jobs.
“The Utah economy continues to move forward on strong footing,” said a prepared statement from Mark Knold, the department’s chief economist. “All of Utah’s major industry sectors have returned to, or are exceeding, their pre-pandemic employment levels.”
The leisure and hospitality sector led the way with year-over-year job gains, with an increase of 17,700 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities industry added 13,600 jobs, followed by the construction sector with 5,900 jobs.
In an interview with KSL TV, Knold said few other states can rival Utah’s economy.
“Most states still don’t have all their jobs back,” he said. “Only eight states have been able to recover during this time period and actually have more jobs now than they did before the pandemic began.”
But Knold said there are some economic clouds on the national horizon: high inflation, interest rate hikes, and the war in Ukraine.
“There is some talk among those who watch the economy that, ‘Hey, we’ve got to watch this going forward. It has the potential to slip back into, hopefully, just a small recession,’” Knold said.
Knold said Utah’s economy is well positioned to weather any storm and absorb any short-term blows.
“Any time you even talk about a recession or actually go into one, you would love to be running on all cylinders when that happens and that’s where Utah is right now,” he said.
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