SALT LAKE CITY — Jobs continue to be relatively plentiful in the Beehive State, as the state's unemployment remains among the lowest in the nation.
The state Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for July rose one-tenth of a percentage point to register at 3.5 percent. Data showed that approximately 54,500 Utahns were out of work during the month and actively seeking employment.
On the national front, the U.S. unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point from June to register at 4.3 percent in July.
The report stated that Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for July grew by around 2.9 percent, adding 41,300 jobs to the economy since July 2016. The current statewide employment level registered at 1,460,200 people.
“With more than 40,000 new jobs added since last year, Utah’s economy continues to exhibit healthy expansion,” said DWS chief economist Carrie Mayne. “The unemployment rate showed a slight increase again in July, but remains near full employment.”
In Utah, full employment occurs when the jobless rate is in the 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent range, explained Natalie Gochnour, economist and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.
Data in the DWS report indicated that all but two of the 10 private-sector industry groups measured in the establishment survey posted net job increases in July compared to last year, with the natural resources and mining industry losing 500 positions and the information industry shedding 1,800 positions year-over-year.
Conversely, the largest private sector employment gains occurred in professional and business services — which added 10,700 jobs; construction — which added 6,900 jobs; with trade, transportation and utilities adding 6,800 new positions. The fastest employment growth was in construction — up 7.3 percent; professional and business services — up 5.2 percent; and other services — up 4.4 percent.
One local employment analyst said that because of the state's strong economy, the Salt Lake City metro area continues to attract new companies from a wide variety of industries.
"With more growth comes increased demand for talent. The consistent theme is the need for skilled technology professionals," said Justin Rohatinsky, Utah branch manager for employment firm Robert Half Technology. "Database managers, dot-net professionals and wireless network managers are the most highly sought-after right now."
He noted a steady demand for analytics and business intelligence professionals as well. But the high demand has also resulted in a labor deficiency.
"For companies looking to hire, we advise them to move quickly," he said. "The longer you wait to hire, the more candidates you’ll lose out on.”