Utah now has 668,400 non-agricultural jobs - 20,400 more than in October 1987. And according to state employment officials, that's a sign that the state's economy is on the upswing.
In September and October, the number of non-agricultural jobs in Utah increased 3.1 percent from the same month a year ago, according to figures in a monthly labor market report from the Utah Department of Employment Security. Not since October 1985 has Utah's annual job rate increased so rapidly, state officials said.At the same time, Utah's October unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, 1 percent below the October 1987 figure and 0.1 percent higher than the September figure. Unemployed Utahns totaled 33,700 in October, a 15.8 percent decrease from a year ago.
The services industry in Utah is providing the most jobs, the report said, noting that 10,200 of the new jobs were produced in that area. "Business services is the main thrust behind this boom, creating 4,300 jobs in 12 months, a 10.6 percent growth rate," the report said.
Department officials said two activities within the business service category are responsible for creating most of the jobs. Those two are supply services, which provide temporary or continuing workers on a contract basis, and computer programming, data processing and other computer-related services.
Health services and education/non-profit services also added a total of 3,500 jobs to the services industry.
State officials note that employers in Utah's manufacturing industry have expanded their employment by 4,500 jobs in the past 12 months. The growth is becoming more concentrated in the manufacture of nondurable goods such as clothing, printed materials and chemical products.
With the reactivation of Kennecott Utah Copper and Geneva Steel, now a year old, the job growth in durable goods manufacturing has moderated to a 3 percent percent increase. Also contributing to this trend is a gradual increase in the number of jobs in manufacturing aerospace vehicle components.
The report said that when ShopKo opened seven stores in Utah in late summer, the retail trade industry showed a one-time growth of 1,800 jobs. Modest growth was seen in most other retail trade divisions. In total, the industry had 4,400 more jobs than it did in October 1987.
Government jobs increased by 1,600, a 1.1 percent growth during the 12-month period the report covers. Public school district increases accounted for the entire amount. Other agencies recorded only minor fluctuations.
The areas of mining, transportation/communication/utilities, and finance/insurance/real estate each posted growth of between 100 to 300 jobs during the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, wholesale trade jobs dropped by 100, the report said. The number of Utah's construction jobs also declined by 1,900 - or 7 percent - as the building slump continues.
"Over the next several months, Utah's labor market is expected to continue its moderate growth in the number of new jobs. As this happens, the recovery should gradually spread to those industries still experiencing little or no improvement," the report said.