People are continuing to leave the Beehive State in droves, with 11,500 more people skipping out of Utah than moved here last year.
Officials say that brings the total for net out-migration since 1984 to more than 40,000.The state Planning and Budget Department isn't ready to release exact statistics for the year, but the agency says this year's out-migration total will be virtually identical to 1987's, when it was 11,656.
The exact figures, which cover the period from July 1, 1987 to June 30, 1988, will be released Jan. 3.
Planning and Budget officials say the reasons, as the trend, haven't changed in the past two years. With the state's mining, construction and oil industries still depressed, workers in those fields are leaving en masse.
However, Brad Barber, state director of demographic and economic analysis, believes the outward migration is at or near a peak. Utah is out of its 1986-87 economic slump and those who had planned to leave are probably already gone, he said.
"It's not just that things are really bad in Utah, because they haven't been that bad; 18,000 new jobs have been created this year," Barber said.
But the large increase in the natural supply of labor produced more job-seekers than there are jobs to fill.
"The best way to explain it is there's been an imbalance in the labor market. Not just young people, but also long-term unemployed have been re-entering the labor market. There hasn't been enough jobs to go around and they have to look elsewhere," he said.
An improvement in the economy since July will slow the flow of Utah residents to other states. More people are moving to California and Arizona than anywhere else, he said.
"Things have been picking up in the last part of '88 with good job growth. Next year is likely to be better," he said.
Davis and Washington counties had a net gain of new residents while Utah, Salt Lake and Weber counties lost residents, said Randy Rogers, economist for the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Counties in the energy-rich eastern counties lost residents while western counties remained stable, he said.
Jeff Thredgold, vice president and staff economist for Key Bank of Utah, said the out-migration will slow dramatically in the next 12 to 24 months, a prediction with which Barber agrees.