Emery County's unemployment rate dropped from 9.9 percent in December to 9.6 percent in January. Although there was a slight drop in the county's unemployment in January, Emery County still has the highest unemployment rate of any county in the state. Tooele County was second highest for unemployment in January, with an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.
Neighboring Carbon County's unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point in January, down to 5.8 percent from December's 6.8 percent.
Overall, Utah's unemployment rate for January was 5.3 percent, unchanged from December's revised 5.3 percent. The unemployment rate is at its highest level statewide since 1992.
"Layoffs are again a major factor in the high unemployment rate," said Ken Jensen, senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. "A reflection of this is that the number of unemployment insurance claimants is 60 percent higher for mid-January 2002 to one year earlier." In January about 60,000 Utahns were unemployed, a 50-pecent leap from the 40,200 of a year earlier, when the rate was 3.6 percent.
Utah's other primary indicator of current labor market conditions, the year-over rate of change in the number of nonfarm wage and salaried jobs, plummeted during 2001.
Thus, January 2002's 1.5 percent loss (according to revised estimates) contrasts greatly with January 2001's 2.4 percent gain. That's a swing of 3.9 points in a 12-month period. The last time Utah saw a year-over employment loss was in 1982. Since January 2001, Utah has suffered a net loss of 15,700 nonfarm jobs.
Total employment in mining has fallen by 200 jobs from the January 2001 level. Other mining and quarrying (largely oil and gas extraction) added 200 jobs, but metal mining has lost 300 positions and coal mining lost 100. This division's current 7,500 employment total is near its all-time low and only a fraction of its 20,300 peak achieved in 1981.