Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in October, as state officials report a seasonally adjusted 8,700 jobs were added since September.
October's job count was 1,258,600, up 2.3 percent — or 28,300 — from the same time a year ago, according to the Department of Workforce Services.
"These results certainly stand out in contrast to the national backdrop, proving yet again that a business-friendly approach is the best way to allow Utahns to prosper," Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday.
October's unemployment rate is down from 5.4 percent in September, and it falls significantly lower than the national jobless rate of 7.9 percent.
"While we remain concerned about the fiscal health of the nation, Utahns fortunately should be encouraged, knowing our state economy is strong and growing," Herbert said.
Leading the growth is the professional and business services sector, which added 10,800 jobs year-over-year. The trade, transportation and utilities sector came in second place, adding 4,300 jobs since last October.
Two sectors lost jobs since last year. Construction employment fell by 1,200, while government jobs were down 900, led by a drop in the number of federal positions.
Next month's lost jobs report might be affected by baked goods company Hostess announcing Friday that it was going out of business. The company employs nearly 600 people in Utah.
Since its peak around 8 percent in 2009, the state jobless rate had been declining due to people leaving the workforce. State officials said Utah apparently turned that corner in the past year and is now seeing its unemployment rate drop because people are finding jobs.
The percentage of Utahns 16 and older who are either working or looking for work is now 66.8 percent, up from 66.1 percent at the beginning of 2012.
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