More Jobs … Less Money: Utah Unemployment Rate at 2.4%

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By Steffanie Wynn

While job-hunting may not be fun, finding a job in the Provo area should at least be easy, according to recent statistics.

Provo”s unemployment rate is holding at about 2.4 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released in March.

“That number pretty much indicates that everybody who wants a job [in Provo], has a job,” said Lars Lefgren, BYU assistant professor of economics.

Unfortunately, in some cities there just aren”t enough jobs to go around. In Provo, people may not have the job they want, but they do have a job, Lefgren said.

Provo has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Nationally, the unemployment rate hasn”t changed much in the last few months, staying at about 4.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I”ve found that finding jobs in Provo has been easy,” said Melanie Orton, a senior from Sandy majoring in psychology.

“There are plenty of jobs in the area for students in sales or social services, and there are lots of jobs that you don”t need any special qualifications for,” Orton said. “Usually I can get a job within five days from when I begin to search.”

Recently, CareerBuilder.com ranked the Provo-Orem area as one of 15 great cities for job seekers in the country.

While jobs may be easy to come by, the U.S. Department of Labor statistics also indicate that the average weekly wages in Utah are much lower than weekly wages nationally.

The average national weekly wage is about $838, while the average for the state of Utah is about $660. The average for Utah County is even lower, at about $589.

This is probably a reflection of the cost of living in Utah, as well as the demographic profile, Lefgren said.

When considering that employer”s pay more where the cost of living is higher and that Utah has a young-worker force, those numbers seem less drastic, Lefgren said.

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