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Utah small business index down in October

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 9 2010 8:40 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Zions Bank Small Business Index for Utah was down slightly in October 2010 to 112.0, from a revised 112.6 in September.

The report issued Tuesday also showed that even though Utah's unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent in October — up from the 7.4 percent the prior month — total employment in the state grew by an estimated 9,000 jobs during the past 12 months.

While total Utah employment grew by 0.8 percent over the past 12 months, the increase compares to a revised gain of 13,500 jobs in the prior year-over-year period, said Zions Bank economic consultant Jeff Thredgold.

The U.S. economy added about 151,000 net jobs in October, much better than expectations of a 68,000 job rise, a release stated. The addition of 159,000 private sector jobs during the month, also stronger than expected, was a step in the right direction, Thredgold said.

Meanwhile, job data of August and September were revised to show the addition of 110,000 more jobs. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in September.

The index measures business conditions from the viewpoint of the Utah small business owner or manager. A lower index number is associated with less-favorable business conditions for Utah's small businesses.

The index uses 100.0 for calendar year 1997 as its base year and includes revisions to various historical and new forecast components as they become available.

According to Thredgold, more recently, fewer job gains have resulted in lesser income creation and weaker retail spending having a negative impact upon Utah's small businesses — and therefore, the index.

e-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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