Utah unemployment rate hits record low of 2.1% as labor shortage worsens


The unemployment rate fell to 2.1% – half of the 4.2% rate for the whole country.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) ‘Help Wanted’ signs dot the Salt Lake Valley as Utah’s unemployment rate continues to fall.

Utah’s economy continued to grow in November even when the number of available workers decreases – as it has been happening every month for over a year.

The state’s unemployment rate inched again to 2.1% last month – a new record low – after touching 2.2% in October.

The Beehive State unemployment rate is half of the nation’s 4.2% and far below the level in February 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Nationally, only Nebraska’s rate was lower, at 1.8 percent.

“These seem to be opposing forces, but the Utah economy continues to expand,” said Mark Knold, chief economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “Our economy cannot grow like this unless it finds the labor it needs. So far that challenge is being met. ”

Non-government employment in Utah is 4.7% higher than in November 2019, according to Knolds, after adding 57,900 jobs during two years of economic turmoil.

That growth – the highest in the country – reflects several other measures of the state’s relative economic strength in recovering from its lows in early 2020.

In a separate announcement Friday, Salt Lake Chamber officials noted that consumer confidence in the Utahns remained stable and retail sales continued to grow year over year — even as COVID variants -19 development.

“Utah’s strong economic recovery shows that smart planning, public health awareness, and strong fundamentals can be achieved: an economic revival to lead the country. ,” Derek Miller, CEO and President of the institute, said in a statement.

Miller and others argue that smart planning by government leaders, public health awareness, and strong fundamentals of Utah are at play during the coronavirus crisis.

“While some challenges remain, Utah’s economy has shown steady consumer demand, steady health, and a solid bottom line,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the C. Gardner Ice Cream Policy Institute at the University of Utah. stable health results when entering the holiday season. “We continue to weather the pandemic and show strength with our community and business leaders showing us the way.”

However, as has been the pattern for over a year, the recovery has been somewhat uneven across different sectors. Eight out of 10 sectors have seen price increases, while two have lost jobs.

Trade, transport and utilities; professional and business services; and the construction sector added a total of 47,300 jobs compared with two years ago. Leisure and hospitality, as well as the mining and natural resources sectors, lost 2,500 jobs.

The latest numbers show the total number of jobs in the state now at 1,646,900 and about 34,500 Utahns currently without a job. Utah unemployment rate hits record low of 2.1% as labor shortage worsens

Yasmin Harisha

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