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Utah's unemployment rate dips in December

Published January 29, 2014 9:02 am

Jobs • While growth continued in December, rate is not as high as early survey had suggested.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's unemployment rate dipped last month, according to a Utah Dept. of Workforce Services report, but the number of the state's filled jobs is not as high as officials were hoping it would be.

The state's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in December (57,800 Utahns seeking work), down from 4.3 percent the same month in 2012. The state's number of filled jobs grew 1.8 percent, or another 22,500 jobs. In Utah, there are a total of 1,301,600 filled jobs, according to the report. The national unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in December.

While the report shows growth, it is the fifth month in a row that Utah's "establishment survey" indicates a below-average growth in jobs. The "establishment survey" is a preliminary survey that attempts to measure employment across the state before the full employment figures are calculated months later. The full census figures in job growth for the fourth quarter of last year will be released in March.

"I don't know if it would be disappointing, but it's something we ought to take note of," Carrie Mayne, the workforce services' chief economist, said about the below-average growth-rate. "On the other hand, it's all positive. We're not experiencing negative year-over-year growth. So we're still growing."

Mayne said factors such as the weather — bad weather delaying construction jobs, for example — could be a reason why the growth rate is below the monthly average. It's also possible the "establishment survey" could have incorrectly predicted the monthly average, she said.

According to the report, nine of the 10 private sectors experienced job growth in December, including health and education (7,700 more jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (6,800 jobs); and leisure and hospitality (3,500 jobs). "Other services," which includes areas such as personal care or car repair, was the only private sector that did not experience growth. Meanwhile, the number of government jobs shrunk by 2.3 percent (5,200).

vince@sltrib.com

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