Utah unemployment rate hits record 2.1% as labor shortage worsens


The unemployment rate drops to 2.1%, half of the national mark of 4.2%.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) “Help Wanted” signs dot the Salt Lake City valley as Utah’s unemployment rate continues to decline.

Utah’s economy continued to grow in November even as the number of available workers declined, as it has every month for over a year.

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

Hive State’s unemployment rate was half the national mark of 4.2% and well below what it was in February 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Nationally, only Nebraska’s rate was currently lower, at 1.8%.

“It appears to be competing forces, but Utah’s economy continues to grow,” said Mark Knold, chief economist in the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “Our economy cannot grow like this unless we find the workforce it needs. So far, this challenge has been met.

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

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

In a separate announcement on Friday, officials from the Salt Lake Chamber noted that consumer confidence among the Utahns remained stable and that retail sales continued to grow from last year – even as the COVID-19 variants were evolving.

“Utah’s strong economic rebound shows what smart planning, public health awareness and strong fundamentals can accomplish: an economic stimulus to lead the country,” said Derek Miller, CEO and President of the Chamber, in a press release.

Miller and others have credited the smart planning by government leaders, public health awareness and strong Utah fundamentals before the coronavirus crisis.

“Although some headwinds remain, the Utah economy has shown stable consumer demand, confidence and stable health outcomes as the holiday season approaches,” added Natalie Gochnour, director of Kem. C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. “We continue to withstand the blows of the pandemic and breathe strength with our business and community leaders leading the way. “

But, as has been the case for over a year, the rebound is somewhat uneven across various industries. Eight of the 10 sectors won, while two lost jobs.

Trade, transport and public services; professional and business services; and the construction sectors are up by 47,300 total jobs compared to two years ago. The leisure and hospitality industries, as well as the mining and natural resources sectors, are down by 2,500 jobs.

The latest figures show that total employment in the state is now 1,646,900 and that around 34,500 Utahns are currently out of work.

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