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More Utahns working, new report says

Published: Friday, Nov. 22 2013 12:46 p.m. MST

Utah's nonfarm payroll employment for October 2013 grew by an estimated 2.2 percent, adding 27,800 jobs to the economy as compared to October 2012. Utah's current count of jobs measures 1,299,000.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — More Utahns are gainfully employed, according to the latest report from the state Department of Workforce Services.

Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for October 2013 grew by an estimated 2.2 percent, adding 27,800 jobs to the state economy compared to October 2012. The state’s current job count shows 1,299,000 people are working. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state registered at 4.6 percent, while the national jobless rate stood at 7.3 percent.

The Department of Workforce Services report stated that due to the federal government shutdown last month, September employment numbers were not available. Since reopening, those figures showed that in the month of September, Utah added 26,700 jobs — a 2.1 percent year-over-year increase. The unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in September.

Autumn appears to be a time of economic leveling off for the state, as the unemployment rate remains virtually unchanged and the job growth rate tapers off, said department spokesman Nic Dunn. Despite this, labor force participation continues to increase across the state.

"Our labor force is growing, and yet the unemployment rate is holding steady," Dunn said. "We are growing at a steady rate that can accommodate the additional people looking for work."

"The fact that more and more people are entering the workforce signifies a positive outlook on the economy on the part of Utahns," he said. "When labor force participation increases and is on an upward trajectory, that's a strong sign of positive feelings about the economy."

Currently, about 78 percent of working Utahns are at full time compared to 74 percent a year ago.

"This means that full-time jobs are growing as a proportion of the economy compared to part-time jobs, another sign of good growth since the recession," he said.

All of the 11 private sector industries posted net job increases in October as compared to last year. The largest increases were in trade, transportation and utilities — adding 7,600 jobs; leisure and hospitality added 5,800 jobs; and education and health services added 5,600 jobs. Government employment contracted by 8,000 jobs during the same period, the report states.

"There are three factors at play," Dunn said. "There is a natural plateauing in job growth from our surge after the recession, the federal shutdown had some small effect, and government overall has been contracting, much of it due to sequestration."

Nationwide, private sector employment increased in all nine U.S. Census Bureau Divisions during the month of October 2013, according to the monthly Regional Employment Report. The report released by Automated Data Processing Inc. — a provider of human capital management solutions based in Roseland, N.J. — measures monthly changes in regional nonfarm private employment on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“U.S. regional and state private sector employment growth eased in October, as most regions and states measured showed smaller job gains than in previous months this year," explained Ahu Yildirmaz, senior director of the company's Research Institute. "The Pacific region generated the largest number of new private sector jobs during the month of October, and together with the Mountain region, also recorded the strongest monthly growth rate.”

Meanwhile, at the state level, job growth was mostly slower among heavily populated states in all regions with the exception of California, he said.

The Automated Data Processing report stated that total U.S. private sector employment increased by a total of 130,000 jobs from September to October.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs last month, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com, Twitter: JasenLee1

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