Steve Griffin, Deseret News
FILE - Sunrise lights the Salt Lake City skyline as a thick blanket of fog covers the Salt Lake Valley on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. The Beehive State continues to be among the best states in the U.S. to find a job. For the second month in a row, Utah's unemployment rate registered at 3 percent — the lowest rate in Utah since early 2008 just before the Great Recession.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Beehive State continues to be among the best states in the U.S. to find a job. For the second month in a row, Utah's unemployment rate registered at 3 percent — the lowest rate in Utah since early 2008 just before the Great Recession.

Nationally, the U.S. jobless rate also held steady from the prior month to register at 3.8 percent.

Currently, 1,546,300 Utahns are considered gainfully employed, while approximately 47,200 residents were unemployed and actively seeking work during the month — about 2 percent of the adult working-age population, Department of Workforce Services senior economist Mark Knold said.

"It's one of the lowest levels we've seen in the past 12 years," he said.

In Utah, the state’s nonfarm payroll employment for March 2019 increased by an estimated 3 percent, bringing 45,100 new jobs to the economy over 12 months, mostly through private employer hiring, he noted.

"The private sector is really the heart and soul of the whole economy," he said. "It's (responsible for) 85 percent of all the jobs that occur in the economy and it's where the growth and the expansion in the economy occurs."

Nongovernmental employment grew by 3.2 percent year over year with the addition of 40,600 positions, he said.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that all but one of the 10 private sector industry groups measured in the survey registered net job increases in the month of March. The sole outlier was the category "other services," which lost 200 positions.

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The most significant employment increases in the private sector occurred in leisure and hospitality, which added 8,900 new positions. Trade, transportation and utilities posted 8,600 new jobs, while education and health services brought on 6,000 new positions. The greatest employment growth rate happened in the information sector, which was up 6.7 percent. Leisure and hospitality rose 6 percent and natural resources increased 4.3 percent.

Knold added that the strong job growth is expected to last at least through year's end, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

“Utah has led the nation in its rate of job growth during the nearly 10 years since the Great Recession,” he said. “The current 3 percent growth continues that trend and there is little on the immediate horizon to suggest it will soon change.”