Utah's unemployment increased 0.2 percent to 4.6 percent in September, according to the Utah Department of Employment Security, and the rise was blamed on a continuing moderate number of people entering the work force rather than due to layoffs.
Some 34,400 Utahns are out of work now, 800 more than the September 1989 level, the department's monthly report said.Nationally, the U.S. Labor Department reported 5.7 percent unemployment, a 0.1 percent increase from the August total. It is the highest jobless rate since the spring of 1988, and private economists predict even higher unemployment in the months ahead.
At the local level, despite rough spots in the national job-generating machinery, Utah's non-farm employment kept purring because the number of new jobs increased 5 percent over the same month a year ago.
"Utah job growth continues to surprise us. We've been expecting some sort of slowdown for the last half year, but so far it hasn't materialized," said Lecia Parks Langston, Job Service economist.
Utah has created 33,900 jobs over the past 12 months for a nonagricultural expansion rate nearly triple the national average. Service and trade industries are the areas where the biggest expansion of jobs has been.