Utah again leads the nation in job growth

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Construction at the former Granite Furniture in Sugar House continues at a quick pace as the new Sugarmont Apartments take shape on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Danny Guerra and his colleagues have participated constructing the new $485 million, 866,087 square foot, Salt Lake City International terminal building, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Utah leads the nation in job growth by percentage over the last 12 months in construction, which saw a 6.2 increase in the number of jobs.

Utah enjoyed the nation’s fastest job growth over the past 12 months, with construction leading the way, according to federal data released Friday.

The number of jobs in the state jumped by 3.3 percent from June 2017 to June 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Construction was the fastest-growing sector, expanding at an impressive 6.2 percent.

Just behind Utah at the top of the national rankings were two of its neighbors: Idaho, at 3 percent, and Nevada at 2.9 percent.

Utah added 47,900 jobs to its economy since June 2017, the report said. The number of Utahns who are employed has mushroomed to 1,591,400.

While Utah led the nation in job growth by percentage, Texas had the biggest increase by number of new jobs — 350,500 — followed by California, 269,100, and Florida, 170,500.

New data also showed that Utah enjoyed the nation’s 11th lowest unemployment rate at 3 percent, compared with a national average of 4 percent.

“It’s been more than two years of having unemployment [in Utah] be below 4 percent,” said Nate McDonald, assistant deputy director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The lowest unemployment rate in the nation was 2.1 percent in Hawaii, and the highest was 7.1 percent in Alaska.

Unemployment rates were lower in June in nine states, higher in three and stable in 38 states (including Utah — where the unemployment rate was unchanged from May), the bureau reported.

The report estimated that 48,400 Utahns were unemployed in June and actively seeking work.

“With strong job growth, that means there are a lot of opportunities for these people who are unemployed to find jobs,” McDonald said.

“The summer season is bringing new jobs to Utah’s economy," said Carrie Mayne, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services. “Growth in various industries presents a multitude of career-advancing opportunities for the state’s job seekers.”

Some of the largest numeric increases by industry type over the past 12 months were in trade, transportation and utilities (12,100 more jobs); professional and business services (9,100); education and health services (7,200); leisure/hospitality services (7,200); and construction (6,200).

The fastest growing by percentage were construction (up 6.2 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (4.4 percent); professional and business services (also 4.4 percent); and education/health services (3.7 percent).