Utah's jobless rate in April declined to 4 percent from a revised 4.1 figure in March, according to the Utah Department of Employment Security's monthly report.

Although Utah continues to see some layoffs, overall employment expansion remains strong enough to push unemployment lower, said Lecia Parks Langston, the department's chief economist.About 32,800 Utahns were out of work in April, 1,600 fewer than in April 1990, and the 4 percent unemployment rate was 0.4 percent lower than a year ago.

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined to 6.6 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department, an unexpected improvement that marked the first decline in unemployment in nearly 12 months. Unemployment declined from 6.8 percent in April.

Langston said, "We see no reason to curb our optimism that Utah will escape any serious effects from the current national downtown. Unemployment is down and job growth is holding strong. In fact, Utah's economic growth rate ranks among the fastest in the nation."

"Given the two-month increase in the Department of Commerce index of leading economic indicators and a declining national unemployment rate, the U.S. economy should start showing signs of recovery," said Langston.

While remaining strong, Utah's job growth did feel a whisper of the national recession in April, Langston said, because some industries are feeling the impact of the national situation.