Utah’s job growth rate in August highest in nation for seventh consecutive month

Utah's job growth is among the highest in the United States: Photo (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Utah’s job growth is among the highest in the United States: Photo (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Utah posted the highest job growth rate in the nation for total and private job growth for the seventh consecutive month, according to a U.S. Labor Department report.

The report shows that Utah experienced private job sector growth of 4.6 percent and total sector job growth of 4.0 percent from August of 2014 to 2015. These percentages translate to 52,800 jobs having been added to the economy since August 2014.

“This is obviously great news for BYU students looking to enter the workforce in Utah, after graduation,” said Scott Greenhalgh, a BYU alumni career counselor. “The more jobs that there are, the greater the opportunity for our students to get the jobs they want.”

According to Greenhalgh, BYU students usually seem to have no problem finding jobs post-graduation. “Recruiters are continuing to come back to BYU year after year because they like our students – they like the values our students have.”

Jodi Chowen, the Director of University Career Services had similar thoughts to share. “Employers love our students — they love the BYU brand, which labels them as hardworking and honest.”

According to the report, Utah had the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.7 percent, well below the national average of 5.1 percent.

Nebraska continued as the state with the nation’s lowest jobless rate at 2.8 percent. North Dakota has the second-lowest, at 2.9 percent.

In contrast, unemployment in California remains elevated at 6.1 percent, though that is down sharply from 7.4 percent a year ago. Alaska’s unemployment rate is 6.6 percent, down from 6.9 percent a year ago.

“Utah’s diverse economy continues to lead the nation,” Gov. Herbert said in the release put out by the state. “In fact, our state’s strong private sector job growth is twice the national average and a full percentage point higher than the state in second place.”

According to Chowen, more than half of BYU’s students are not from Utah, yet about half seek employment in Utah post-graduation. “This shows that our students like it here and want to work here even after they are done with school.”

Washington ranked second to Utah in year-over private sector job growth at 3.6 percent, followed by Florida at 3.6 percent and Oregon at 3.5 percent.

Oregon ranked second to Utah in year-over total job growth at 3.5 percent, followed by Washington at 3.3 percent and Florida at 3.1 percent.

According to the report, nine of the 10 private sector industry groups measured in the establishment survey posted net job increases in August as compared to last year, while the natural resources and mining industry let 800 positions go.

The largest private sector employment increases were in leisure and hospitality (12,800 jobs), professional and business services (9,600 jobs), education and health services (9,400 jobs).

The fastest employment growth occurred in leisure and hospitality (9.7 percent), education and health services (5.5 percent) and professional and business services (5.1 percent).

Amy King, a recent BYU exercise science graduate, accepted a job offer in leisure and hospitality just five days after beginning her job search. According to her, students simply need to be open to the possibility of working in a field they didn’t initially anticipate.

“Even though I didn’t know it at the time, there are tons of jobs out there, just like the one I found,” King said. “Be open to using your skills, wherever they may take you.”

According to Chowen, 80 percent of students that seek full-time employment find it within 3 months. Ninety percent find work within 6 months.

“Opportunities are all around us,” he said. “Even students that study the liberal arts should realize that they will likely end up working for a business. This leaves plenty of jobs open for their taking. For those things they don’t feel they know, they just need to put themselves out there and learn.”

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