Utah’s construction industries remain strong, while leisure and hospitality struggle

Construction is booming in Cache Valley and Smithfield is one of the fastest growing areas in the valley.

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute has compared several economic indicators over the past year and shows that Utah’s economy was in a strong position before the coronavirus pandemic, and is rebounding quicker than many other states. In terms of employment, Utah’s construction industry showed the most growth from June 2019 to June 2020, with 9,700 new jobs (an increase of 8.7%).

Home prices also continue to rise in Utah. In the the Logan metropolitan statistical area (which includes Preston, Idaho), the median sales price of a home in the first quarter of 2020 was $310,298, which indicates a 6.6% increase over the same quarter in 2019 (but less than the state median price of $378,336 and 8.6% growth). The Salt Lake City metro saw the largest increase in the state, at 12.3%. The median sales price for a home nationally is $286,089, which represents a 7.8% increase.

Utah’s unemployment rate for June was 5.1%, considerably better than the national average of 11.1%. In the Bear River region, unemployment in Box Elder County was 5.2%, Cache County was 3.4% and Rich County only had 2.7%. At the end of June, Utah had the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, and was first in employment change (a recent reduction of 2.8%).

Some economic sectors continue to struggle in the state, however, particularly Leisure and Hospitality. Those industries lost over 20% of their workforce in year-over-year statistics, accounting for 32,400 lost jobs. Other industries who have seen employment declines over the last year include Natural Resources and Mining (-10.4%), Other Services (-4.2%), Professional and Business Services (-3.7%), Government (-3.0%), Information (-1.5%) and Manufacturing (-1.4%).

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