Garfield County has the highest percentage of residents working in travel and recreation, according to a recent report by Workforce Services.

Furthermore, all five of Utah's fast-growing southwest counties - Washington, Iron, Beaver, Kane and Garfield - rank in the top 10 in percentage of employees dedicated to travel and recreation, the report said.Garfield County had 65 percent of its work force involved in travel and recreation in 1996, followed closely by Summit County at 63 percent.

Garfield County also had a high unemployment rate, although joblessness in the county was reported to be dropping. The 210 unemployed workers in mid-1997 reflected unemployment of 8.7 percent.

Unemployment also continued high in most of the rural counties in the six-county area to the north of Garfield County. It increased in Piute, Sanpete and Sevier counties but declined in Wayne, Millard and Juab counties, the latter two counties with less than 4 percent unemployment. Ironically, economies remain expansive in most of the counties.

Government jobs top the employment lists in most of the counties. Cedar City and Richfield are regional locations for state and federal offices, and Richfield and St. George are county seats. Much of Iron County's local government business is done in Cedar City, but the smaller Parowan is the official county seat. All have considerable numbers of county, state and federal offices.

A high number of government employees are in the school systems and Richfield, Cedar City and St. George. All have post-high school state institutions of higher learning. Cedar City is the home of the Southern Utah University, St. George has Dixie College, and Richfield is the site of the Sevier Valley Applied Technology School. The latter will become Snow College South, as approved by the last Utah Legislature.

A variety of national and state parks are also in the southern counties, boosting the travel and recreation employee totals.