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Unemployment down in Utah but rises in Emery County

Utah's unemployment rate for June continued inching downward, registering 4.7 percent.

But, as many Emery County residents have observed over the years, the ebb and flow of employment in the county does not always follow the state average. While Utah's overall unemployment rate declined in June, Emery County's remained relatively stagnant. Revised figures for Emery County for May showed unemployment at 7.4 percent. Preliminary figures for June showed unemployment at 7.2 percent.

Mark Knold, Senior Economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, commented, "There has been a noticeable decrease in people filing for unemployment insurance the last several months. We are also seeing a noticeable decline in large layoff activity across the state. The Utah economy is probably at its inflection point. However, it may take several more months before we see hiring activity improve, but the worst is probably behind us." Approximately 53,500 Utahns were unemployed in June 2002, a 16.4-percent increase from the 45,950 in June 2001.

Utah's other primary indicator of current labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of nonfarm wage and salaried jobs, remains negative. The number of Utah jobs is down 1.5 percent year-over, or 16,000, for June 2002 � a preliminary measurement. May's measurement has been revised upward from its preliminary -1.5 percent, now registering -1.4 percent.

For the United States, the June 2002 unemployment rate was essentially unchanged for the second month in a row. The number of persons unemployed was 8.4 million and the unemployment rate stands at 5.9 percent.

Both measures, however, were higher in the second quarter of this year than in the first quarter. U.S. nonfarm employment remains in negative territory. For June 2002, year-over, nonfarm employment is down by 1.1 percent. Manufacturing, construction, trade, and transportation/communications/utilities have all lost jobs. Services, the state's largest employment sector, is showing growth of 0.8 percent, but this isn't enough to counter the losses and lift the economy out of its malaise. Without significant job growth during the second half of 2002, Utah will end 2002 as the first year since 1964 with a decline in jobs.

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