Utah finished 2018 at No. 4 in job creation

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) In this 2018 file photo, more than 1,800 tradesmen are working on the new Salt Lake City International Airport expansion project. Utah finished fourth in the nation for job creation in 2018, according to new federal data released Friday. Most of those new jobs were in trade, transportation and utilities.

Only three other states had a faster rate of job creation last year than Utah, according to federal data released Friday.

It added 46,400 jobs between December 2017 and December 2018, for a growth rate of 3.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The average rate nationally during that time was 1.8 percent, so Utah’s rate was 72 percent above that.

The only states that had faster growth were Nevada at 3.9 percent, Arizona at 3.4 percent and Texas at 3.2 percent.

“Our state ended the year on a positive economic note,” said Carrie Mayne, chief economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

During 2018, nine of the 10 large industry groups in Utah measured by federal surveys saw net increases — while the other, natural resources and mining, remained essentially unchanged.

The largest number of new jobs came in trade, transportation and utilities (15,000 jobs); education and health services (5,900); and professional and business services (5,400).

The fastest growth by rate came in trade, transportation and utilities (5.2 percent); “other services,” a wide-ranging category including everything from church administration to mortuary services, pet grooming and laundry work (4.3 percent); and manufacturing (3.4 percent).

Meanwhile, unemployment in Utah in December remained unchanged at 3.2 percent. Mayne said, “2018 closes out as a year of low unemployment with the average number of unemployed just over 49,000.”

The national unemployment rate in December was 3.9 percent. Iowa had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.4 percent, while Alaska had the highest at 6.3 percent.