Utah leads nation with lowest unemployment

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Utah leads the nation in low unemployment rates and job growth. Data sourced from Utah’s employment summary: October 2019. (Harriet Norcross).

Utah is becoming well-known for its low unemployment rate and a high number of jobs added to the construction, information and business sectors. 

As of October 2019, Utah is number one in the nation for private-sector job growth, followed by Arizona and Florida according to the Department of Workforce Services. Along with private-sector job growth, Utah also leads the nation in total job growth, followed again by Florida and Arizona. 

As the amount of unemployed people in Utah continues to decrease, some residents are experiencing the change.

Recent BYU graduate Madeleine Chambers felt the sting of unemployment when she was laid off from her job one month after graduation.

“I thought I had a plan post-graduation of what to do and what I wanted to be, then a wrench was thrown into my plans,” Chambers said.

The minute Chambers got home from work that day, she immediately started applying for jobs all over the country. She did freelance work and kept herself refreshed and up-to-date on what was happening in her industry while she waited to hear back from employers.

After four months of job hunting and what seemed to be a never-ending interview process, Chambers landed her dream job as a social media specialist for Megaplex Theaters at Geneva. Chambers took advantage of new job opportunities in Utah and used the state’s low unemployment rate to her advantage.

Growing employment opportunities in Utah give hope for those unemployed or currently hoping to change jobs. Utah’s private sector employment grew by 3.7% year-over with an addition of 47,000 positions.

The largest private-sector employment increases were professional and business services with 11,000 jobs, education and health services with 9,600 jobs and construction with 6,900 jobs. These new job opportunities allowed Utah to experience 3.3% of total job growth since last year. 

As all industries in Utah add jobs, the unemployment rate continues to drop. Sen. Scott Sandall believes that the unemployment rate continues to drop because Utah’s economy is doing very well, the state has few regulations and Utah is business-friendly because of its a centrally located position. These unique advantages make Utahns eager to find work he said. 

“We have a great workforce and a great group of people who want to get educated and trained. Companies right now are looking for that,” Sandall said. 

The growth of businesses in Utah continues to provide more job opportunities, but some wonder whether this low unemployment rate is sustainable.

Mark Knold, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services, has watched the unemployment rate in Utah drop to 2.5% compared to the national average of 3.6%. 

“The lowest we’ve ever measured as a state for unemployment is 2.4%. I’m guessing we’ll get to that or even lower in the next couple of months,” Knold said. 

Knold explained that history shows it’s harder to get any lower than a 2.4% unemployment rate. The last time Utah saw something like this was in 2006 and a recession followed. However, Knold speaks very highly of the current state of the economy and is looking forward to what’s in store for the future of employment in Utah.

“This is a great time to be looking for a job and a great time to be looking for an even better job,” Knold said.

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