Utah's rate of job growth slowed in August
Utah's rate of job growth slowed in July and its unemployment rate went up a tick to 4.7 percent, according to new monthly figures released Friday by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
The state's economy supported 33,200 more jobs last month than it did in August of 2012, boosting Utah's overall employment level to 1,283,700 jobs.
But the 2.7 percent growth rate was down "noticeably" from July's year-over-year growth of 3.5 percent, the Workforce Services' report said, and well below the state's long-run average growth rate of 3.1 percent.
"Utah's expansion continues on track, though there will always be months below average," said Juliette Tennert, chief economist for Gov. Gary Herbert.
In a released statement, the governor viewed the numbers optimistically, noting that while August's growth rate slowed it was still much better than the national average (1.7 percent).
"With government the only exception, all growth is good growth, and Utah has consistently been moving in the right direction," Herbert said. "Every single private sector industry in the latest report is adding jobs. The only sector shedding jobs is government."
There were 6,200 fewer government jobs in August than a year earlier. The other 10 job sectors tracked in the monthly report all had job gains over the previous year.
In terms of numbers, the biggest giant was in trade, transportation and utilities, which added 10,500 people to payrolls. That was a 4.3 percent increase. Companies in the leisure and hospitality industry created 6,800 new jobs, while 5,500 positions were added in the education and health services sector.
By percentage, companies involved in distributing information had 12 percent more workers in August than a year earlier. That amounted to 3,800 positions.
Nationally, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that employers cut jobs in 20 states last month and added jobs in 29 others. Montana's job totals were the same in August as a year earlier.
"The picture is decidedly mixed," said Jim Diffley, chief U.S. regional economist at IHS Global Insight. "We're still optimistic about the improvement [in hiring], but it's been slow."
His company said only 18 states will have returned to their pre-recession job levels by the end of this year. Overall, the U.S. still has 1.9 million fewer jobs than before the recession.
Nevada has the nation's highest unemployment rate (9.5 percent), followed by Illinois (9.2 percent). North Dakota is the lowest, at 3 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Jobless rate up
Utah's jobless rate rose a tenth in August to 4.7 percent, still well below the national average of 7.3 percent. The state's job-growth rate also slowed.