The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate—generated by BLS—is Utah’s other primary indicator of current labor market conditions and registers 5.4 percent, a noticeable drop from last month’s 5.8 percent. Approximately 73,100 Utahns are considered to be actively unemployed. The current United States unemployment rate, as compared to last month, fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.8 percent.
As estimated this month, most of Utah’s industrial sectors are contributing to job growth, with the two exceptions being leisure and hospitality, and government. Professional and business services stands heads-and-tails beyond all other industries by adding 11,400 jobs over the past 12 months. The next highest accumulation is in financial activities at 2,600. Over half of all Utah job growth is occurring in professional and business services.
Utah’s unemployment rate dropped four-tenths of a percentage point this month, moving to 5.4 percent. This is influenced by the three-tenths of a percentage point drop at the national level, as all state unemployment rates key off the national profile. The unemployment rate and the employment growth estimates are derived from two separate surveys. They have disagreed at times in the past. Future revisions to the data generally bring the two series into alignment. With additional information now available through March 2012, it is known the employment growth estimates will be moved higher when the data series is revised at the beginning of 2013.
Natural resources and mining remain one of Utah’s strongest growth sectors with employment gains over-the-year of 5.8 percent, or 700 jobs. Half of this originated in the Uintah Basin, the other half largely developed in Salt Lake County.
Construction employment is growing in response to an improving housing environment in Utah. While the housing environment still has a sizeable way to go toward recovery, prices are starting to rise, home building permits are up, and traffic and sales are on the rise. This is translating into more homes being built, and thus an increase in construction jobs tied to home building.
Utah’s largest employment sector is Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. Estimated employment gains of 2,300 over the past 12 months is a growth rate of 1.0 percent.
The Professional and Business Services sector added the most new jobs in Utah over the past year at 11,400. Half is coming from the professional, scientific, and technical side, which is an area that generally requires greater levels of education for employment and also returns higher-than-average wages. These include accounting, engineering, design services, computer systems design, and consulting services, among others. The remainder is coming from an assortment of services such as security, landscaping, janitorial, building maintenance, and waste management.