It’s belated news that has likely changed now amid the coronavirus threat. But federal data released Monday said Utah ranked No. 1 in job creation for the 12 months that ended in January.
Utah also enjoyed the nation’s fourth-lowest unemployment rate in January — but it was up a bit after setting an all-time record a month earlier.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Utah’s job growth rate was 2.9% between January 2019 and January 2020, adding 45,100 jobs in that time.
Finishing in a tie for second place behind Utah were neighboring Arizona and Idaho, up 2.5% each.
Utah’s unemployment rate in January was 2.5%, up slightly from the state’s all-time low of 2.3% in December.
In comparison, the national unemployment rate was 3.6%.
North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.3%, followed by South Carolina and Virginia tied at 2.4%. Alaska had the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 6%.
Fifteen states had unemployment rates lower than the national average, nine states had higher rates, and 26 had rates that were not appreciably different from the national average.
“Utah began 2020 on a solid economic foundation with a vibrant job market,” said Mark Knold, chief economist of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Even with more recent developments with coronavirus, he said, "Utah enters this uncertain environment with the best economic foundation possible.”
He added, “There is nothing significantly structurally out of balance in the economy that would have otherwise triggered a slowdown — nationally or in Utah. Utah’s economy largely moves in lockstep with the United States economy, although at a higher level.”