Utah’s economy continues to expand, based on latest jobs report

FILE PHOTO: We're Open. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment experienced steady growth over the past 12 months, with an estimated increase of 2.6%, contributing to the addition of 43,500 jobs since April 2022. The state’s current job count now stands at 1,720,300, indicating a robust economy.

April 2023 Jobs Report. Graphic created by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

According to the latest report from Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS), Utah’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2023 is estimated at 2.3%. Approximately 41,300 individuals in the state are currently unemployed. The March unemployment rate of 2.4% remains unchanged, reflecting the state’s consistently low unemployment levels. In comparison, the national unemployment rate decreased slightly to 3.4% in April.

Chief Economist for Utah DWS Mark Knold says there are no major indications that Utah’s economy is under stress, let alone duress.

“Ever so slowly the Utah economy has decelerated every month this year,” says Knold. “The year began with over-the-year job growth of 2.9%. Each month since it has reduced by one-tenth of a percentage point, with over-the-year growth now sitting at 2.6%. Nearly all industry sectors continue to make new job contributions to the employment base, and the unemployment rate is rock-bottom low.

“The slowdown isn’t hurting the economy. It is probably just a slowing in population in-migration that accounts for this gradual job growth moderation. The supply of available labor is slowing.”

In April, Utah’s private sector employment continued to experience year-over-year expansion.

“Over-the-year job growth is at 2.6%,” Knold added. “That is a 12 month increase of 43,800 jobs throughout Utah. For perspective, that would be enough new workers to fill the Delta Center in downtown Salt Lake City, twice.”

Nine out of ten major private-sector industry groups witnessed net job gains compared to the previous year. Leading the growth were the leisure and hospitality services sector, which added 9,400 jobs, followed by professional/business services (6,800 jobs), education and health services (6,200 jobs), and other services (5,000 jobs). The only industry to experience a decline in employment was financial activities, which saw a reduction of 1,800 jobs compared to the previous year.

“The overall fate of the Utah economy is beholden to the performance of the national economy. It takes big, national downturns to knock the Utah economy off track,” adds Knold. “Conversely, it doesn’t take much of a push from the national economy to get the Utah economy moving again in a strong way. If the United States economy can stay out of the Utah economy’s way, then Utah will keep flourishing in the near term.”

Statistics for the April report were generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C., and modeled from monthly employer (employment) and household (unemployment) surveys.

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