Utah's non-agricultural employers created 21,800 jobs in 1988 - a 3.3 percent increase over 1987 and the best job growth year since 1984, the Utah Department of Employment Security reported Friday.

Utah's nonagricultural jobs total 678,000, the report said.Standing at 4.8 percent on Dec. 31, the state unemployment rate is virtually unchanged in the last six months. It means most people filling Utah's new jobs have recently entered the labor force rather than coming from the unemployed ranks. About 40,000 Utahns are currently unemployed - down 10.6 percent from a year ago.

Because of Utah's continuing employment expansion and consistently low unemployment, the report said, the percentage of Utah's population age 16 and older in the civilian labor force has increased 1.5 percent since December 1987. Correspondingly, the number of people not in the labor force is now 12,400, or 3.7 percent lower than the December 1987 level.

The report said these statistics indicate the forces causing net out-migration of Utah's population for the past three years are reversing. If the trend continues, the 1989 population estimates will show a small net in-migration.

For the first time, Utah's manufacturing jobs exceed 100,000. In the past 12 months, manufacturing employers in Utah added 3,800 new jobs, a 3.9 percent increase. More than 50 percent of these jobs involved manufacturing nondurable goods, such as food, chemical and plastic products.

At a 6.7 percent growth rate, nondurable goods manufacturing jobs are increasing at more than twice the rate of durable goods manufacturing jobs, the report said.

Utah's service industry is by far the largest sector in both number and rate. The industry produced 11,200 new jobs last year and the 7.4 percent increase was much higher than the next most rapidly growing industry of transportation/communication/public utilities at 4.3 percent.

The trade industry ranked second in the number of new jobs created in 1988, the report said, with 4,100 new jobs for a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year.

An additional 1,900 workers were added to government payrolls last year, a 1.3 percent increase, with the majoring being hired by local governments.

On the debit side, the finance/insurance/real estate sector lost 700 jobs last year, mining lost 300 jobs and construction lost 200 jobs.