Utah's non-agricultural employers created 17,200 new jobs in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, triple the number created in the previous 12-month period.

This is Utah's most rapid job-creation rate since December 1985, according to the monthly Labor Market Report issued Thursday by the Utah Department of Employment Security.It said the 17,200 new jobs were a 2.7 percent boost for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 1988, much higher than the 0.9 percent increase in the previous 12 months.

The report said Utah's robust services industry, the largest employment sector in the state, created 8,000 of the new jobs and the business services industry gained 3,700 new jobs, a 9.3 percent increase in the 12 months. Employment in health and education services showed a steady growth with 2,800 new jobs.

Manufacturing employment, also a mainstay of Utah's economy, added 4,500 new jobs, a 4.8 percent growth in the 12 months. New jobs in primary metals were nearly 50 percent of the total, the report said.

The September opening of seven ShopKo stores gave Utah's retail trade industry a boost of 1,800 new jobs. An additional 1,400 jobs in various retail activities made a total of 3,200 in retail trade, a 2.7 percent increase in the 12 months.

A 2,300-job or 5.8 percent increase in local public school employment in the 12 months, coupled with minor fluctuations in other categories, resulted in total government employment gaining 2,400 jobs since September 1987.

In September, Utah's construction jobs were 2,500 fewer than a year ago, an 8.8 percent decrease, and finance/insurance/real estate had a 0.9 percent decrease in jobs while wholesale trade remained unchanged.

Although most of the new jobs were created along the Wasatch Front, the 2 percent job growth in that area was slower than most other areas. The Southwestern District led the state with a 12-month non-agricultural payroll job growth rate of 5.7 percent.

New jobs in the Mountainland District increased 5.2 percent; Bear River District, 4.2 percent; Central District, 2.4 percent; Southeastern District, 1.1 percent; and Uintah Basin District, 1.3 percent.

"These districts are finally beginning to recover from their severe economic setbacks of a few years ago," the report said.

At 4.8 percent, Utah's unemployment rate in September was slightly higher than August's 4.7 percent but still was 1.4 percent lower than the same month a year ago.

"This year, Utah's economy is experiencing relatively few layoffs. With the increasing availability of jobs, unemployment will likely remain near its present low level for the foreseeable future. In addition, people who left Utah's labor force when jobs were hard to find will begin to gravitate back into the labor market because of its improving conditions," the report said.