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Utah unemployment rate dips to five-year low in April

Published: Saturday, May 17 2014 11:00 p.m. MDT

The Salt Lake Valley.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News Archives

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah continued to see steady job growth as the state's unemployment rate dipped to a five-year low the past month.

April’s rate dropped three tenths of a percentage point from March to 3.8 percent, the Utah Department of Workforce Services reported Friday. About 55,200 Utahns were unemployed in the month and actively seeking work, according to the report.

The unemployment rate is at its lowest since hitting 3.4 percent in November 2008.

"This is good news for us not only today but is extremely good news for us going forward," Gov. Gary Herbert said. "I expect our best days are ahead of us."

The state's nonfarm payroll employment for April grew by an estimated 2.9 percent, adding 36,800 jobs to the economy as compared to April 2013, the report says. Currently, 1,323,400 Utahns are working.

"We're approaching virtually full employment," the governor said.

But he knows people are still looking for work and having a hard time finding it. "The good news is there a jobs out there and the economy is really back at historical norms in Utah," he said.

The state's unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national rate, which also saw slight improvement, dropping three tenths to 6.3 percent over last month.

"We posted some strong numbers this month. We're seeing that spread through most of the key industries," said Workforce Services chief economist Carrie Mayne.

Growth in both the labor force and the proportion of people within the labor force who are employed signals that Utah's economy is vibrant and should stay that way into the summer and the second half of 2014, the report says.

All of the 10 private sector industry groups measured in the survey posted net job increases in April as compared to last year.

The largest overall employment increases were in trade, transportation and utilities with 7,900 jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality with 6,800 jobs and construction with 5,500 jobs, according to the report.

The largest growths rates were in construction, up 7.7 percent; information, up 5.9 percent; and leisure and hospitality, up 5.5 percent.

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