All but one Utah industry added jobs in the last year

Data shows Utah added jobs in construction, manufacturing and other industries between June 2022 and 2023 even as the unemployment rate rose slightly.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Trucks move rocks in the Bingham Copper Mine in southwestern Salt Lake County, on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. A new report on national employment growth from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a 7.1% increase in Utah's mining and logging jobs from June 2022 to June 2023.

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Utah’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in June compared to the previous year even as employment grew across several sectors, but experts say the fluctuation isn’t significant.

About 1.7 million Utahns were employed in June 2023, up from 2022 by about 3%, according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But more people were also unemployed. The state’s unemployment rate increased from 2.3% to 2.4% between June 2022 and June 2023, according to BLS data.

That’s less than a 1% increase, and the federal labor agency does not consider the change significant.

Neither does Phil Dean, the chief economist at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, who described the change as minor. He said a high rate of labor force participation could be behind the increase.

Dean added the report suggests Utah’s economy is still strong.

Employment grew in nearly every industry compared to June 2022, though some had fewer jobs filled than in May 2023.

Here are four other findings about employment and unemployment in Utah:

1. Unemployment rate is still low despite the slight increase

Though Utah’s unemployment rate increased, it’s still low compared to other states.

Unemployment ranged between 1.8% and 5.4% in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., averaging 3.1%.

New Hampshire and South Dakota shared the designation for the lowest unemployment rate, while Nevada had the highest.

With 2.4% unemployment, Utah had one of the lowest rates in the country.

Unemployment was up from June 2022, but Dean said that change isn’t a big deal. There’s a 14-year high in the labor force participation rate that could be behind the difference, he added.

“That interacts with that unemployment rate. As more people come into the labor force, that may actually create a little change and increase,” Dean said.

In addition to neighboring Nevada having the highest unemployment rate, Idaho and Colorado and Wyoming had slightly higher rates, and Arizona was more than a percentage point higher.

2. More people employed and unemployed

Utah’s overall employment was 1,724,300 in June 2023. That’s up 48,200 — or 2.9% — from June 2022.

More Utahns also are unemployed, though.

According to the federal agency, 42,580 people in Utah were unemployed in June 2023. That’s an increase of 2,807 compared to June 2022 and is also up from May.

3. Employment is up in all but one industry year-over-year

Employment was up in 10 of the 11 industries BLS includes in the monthly report.

From June 2022 to June 2023, non-farm employment increased:

  • 3.8% in construction.

  • 4.6% in education and health services.

  • 2.6% in government.

  • 2.7% in information.

  • 10.7% in leisure and hospitality.

  • 0.8% in manufacturing.

  • 7.1% in mining and logging.

  • 0.9% in professional and business services.

  • 0.2% in trade, transportation and utilities.

  • 9% in other services. Those include services like equipment and machinery repair, advocacy, dry cleaning and laundry, pet care services and dating services.

The number of jobs in financial activities decreased by 1% during that same time frame.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) New employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Stastics shows job growth over the past year in nearly all industries in Utah, including a 10.7% increase in the hospitality and leisure sector, and 3.8% in construction. Here, Salt Lake City's 26-story Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel is under construction on Oct. 19, 2021.

Some of the changes may look more significant than they are, Dean said. He pointed specifically at leisure and hospitality.

That sector had an artificially low base because of the pandemic, he said, so it’s hard to understand whether there actually was a major increase in employment.

4. Four industries lost jobs month-over-month

Though nearly every industry added jobs over the last year, some employed fewer people in June than in May.

Non-farm employment decreased in construction, manufacturing, professional and business services and trade, transportation and utilities.

No industry lost more than 1% of the jobs that existed in May. Professional and business services lost the most with a 0.8% decrease.

The story continues below the graph.

All other industries — including financial activities — added jobs between May and June.

Megan Banta is The Salt Lake Tribune’s data enterprise reporter, a philanthropically supported position. The Tribune retains control over all editorial decisions.