Wasatch Front is great at creating jobs, but lags in wages

(Trent Nelson | Tribune photo) Applicant takes information at a job fair hosted by Catholic Community Services at the Weigand Center in Salt Lake City, Aug. 21, 2018.

New federal data shows that Wasatch Front counties are among the best in the nation for creating new jobs — but lag when it comes to increasing wages. Pay in all these counties remains below the national average.

For example, Utah County — where growth was fastest along the Wasatch Front — ranked No. 11 among the nation’s 356 largest counties for creating jobs between the first quarter of last year and the same period this year.

That put it in the top 3% of all counties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But at the same time, Utah County ranked only No. 60 for how much wages increased. The average wage in the county at the end of the first quarter was $938 a week, or $246 below the national average of $1,184.

Job growth in Utah County in the period was at a rate of 3.7%, about 2.6 times the national average of 1.4%. Average weekly wages there were up 4.2%, compared to 2.8% nationally.

In Salt Lake County, job growth was up 2.9% — double the national average — and ranked No. 30 among the 355 largest counties. Average weekly income was up 3.3% and ranked only No. 110.

Salt Lake County’s average weekly wage was $1,130, or $54 below the national average.

Davis County saw jobs increase at a rate of 2.1%, ranking No. 78 nationally. Average weekly wages were up 2.7%. The average weekly wage in Davis was $887, or $297 below the national average.

In Weber County, the number of jobs rose 1.8%. Weekly wages were up 2.1% to $823, or $361 below the national average.

Outside the Wasatch Front, none of Utah’s other counties rank among the 355 largest nationally.

Among those 355 largest counties, 325 had increases in average wages and 296 saw increases in their number of jobs.

Midland County, Texas, had the largest job growth nationally at 5.8%, nearly four times the national average. The worst drop nationally was in Bay County, Fla. — home of Panama City — decreasing 5.9%.

For wages, the biggest jump in the average was in San Francisco, up 10.2%. The worst drop was in Elkhart County, Ind., down 7.6%.