Utah's unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent, the lowest rate since 1979, when the rate averaged 4.3 percent, according to the monthly Utah Labor Market Report from the Utah Department of Employment Security.
Last month, Utah's unemployment rate stood at 4.8 percent, and last year it was 6.5 percent, the report said.Before Utah officials start busting their buttons over the dipping unemployment rate, consider that 16 states in 1987 had an annual average unemployment rate below 5 percent and seven states had an unemployment rate below 4 percent.
According to the latest data available, the report said, Utah's June 1988 unemployment rate of 4.7 percent, which was not seasonally adjusted, ranked 29th among the states. Of all Western states, only Hawaii's rate was lower than Utah's.
Revised estimates, the report said, showed growth in Utah's non-farm payroll jobs increased to 2.2 percent, meaning 13,900 more workers were on the payrolls in August 1988 than in the same month a year ago.
The report reviewed the unemployment situation of the past 32 months, saying that in January 1985 the state's economy was expanding rapidly. Non-farm payroll jobs had grown by 5.6 percent or 32,200 jobs over the previous 12 months.
But in the next 12 months the job growth rate slackened considerably and was down to 0.44 percent or 2,700 jobs. The slump continued through most of 1987, but as of January the number of jobs increased by 11,400 or 1.8 percent. In March 1988, the job growth rate accelerated to 2.2 percent and remained quite constant since, the report said.
"Thus, although Utah's economic slump has been persistent, it is gradually giving way to growth," the report said.
At the end of August, the number of mining jobs stood at 8,600, which is 7.5 percent higher than a year ago. Although the gain is only 600 jobs, the report said strength in mining gives the entire state a psychological economic boost.
A total of 4,100 jobs was added in the manufacturing industry, a growth of 4.4 percent. More than 50 percent of the gain was in the primary metals of copper and steel, which also is a psychological boost for the economy.
In the service industry, the report said that in the last 12 months, 8,000 jobs were created, the bulk in personal, business and amusement services.
The transportation/communication/public utilities industries showed a 3.4 percent increase in jobs in the past 12 months. Motor and air transportation showed an 11 percent increase in jobs, but the other areas actually lost jobs.
At the end of 1987, the report said, the job growth rate in retail trade over the same time a year ago was nil. The 1.5 percent job growth rate in August 1988 was meager but a welcome improvement.
Local and state government employment had a 1.7 percent increase in employment, which added 1,600 jobs to the state's economy. The growth is largely attributable to employment gains in local school districts.
The construction industry continued to take its lumps, the report showed, losing 2,700 jobs in August 1988 compared to the same month a year ago.
Jobs at federal installations in Utah dropped by 700 compared to a year ago, the report said.