Utah's October job growth rate was OK, but it's been better the past few years

Utah’s rate of job growth was good last month, but not as good as it’s been for most of the past three years, the state Department of Workforce Services reported Friday.

Private and government employers have added 39,400 jobs since October 2016, a 2.7 percent growth rate.

“Employment trends in Utah have moderated slightly but continue to show notable expansion,” said Carrie Mayne, the department’s chief economist.

Since the end of 2014, the state has consistently enjoyed month after month of job growth exceeding 3 percent, with a couple of 4 percent months mixed in, Workforce Service records show.

Year-over-year job growth hasn’t been below 2.7 percent since a momentary dip late in 2011, as the state and national economies bounced back from the Great Recession. The nadir occurred in the early fall of 2009, when Utah’s economy had 6 percent fewer jobs than a year earlier.

Private-sector companies were responsible for the bulk of the job growth (38,400 positions), which boosted Utah’s employment total to 1,492,600.

Professional and business services led the way with 10,000 jobs, while the trade, transportation and utilities sector added 6,200 jobs and education and health services grew by 5,500. The 4,300 new jobs in the construction industry reflected a 4.5 percent increase.

Cutbacks by telecommunications and internet service businesses left the information sector with the largest job losses (1,000) year over year, while mining and other extraction industry firms lost another 300 positions.

Even with those pink slips, Utah’s unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percent to 3.3 percent in October, Mayne said, suggesting the low jobless rate “indicates that opportunities for employment are meeting the needs of job seekers.”

About 51,600 Utahns were unemployed and actively seeking work last month, she added. The national unemployment rate in October was 4.1 percent.