Friday, January 25, 2013

Brief Beaver County Update

Recently released third-quarter jobs data show Beaver County clawing its way out of the recent turbulent job growth rates precipitated by the coming and going of large construction projects. Of course, a few more months of data are needed to confirm that the County is once again on a solid job-growth footing. It wasn’t until the final month of the quarter that employment levels actually expanded. Here’s a rundown of the county’s most recent economic indicators:

• Between September 2011 and September 2012, Beaver County added almost 100 net, new positions for a year-to-year gain of 4.6 percent.

• Despite the fact that construction continued to show job losses, the reopening of the copper mine helped push up mining employment by more than 130 jobs. Indeed, without these additional mining positions, Beaver County would still be in the bemoaning its employment doldrums.

• Most of the major industrial categories did add jobs and what losses surfaced were very minor. Nevertheless, the current expansion is primarily a one-industry (mining) wonder.

• As in most counties across the state, Beaver County’s unemployment rate continued on its downhill path. In November 2012, the county joblessness stood at only 5.2 percent—virtually identical to the the statewide average. • Initial claims for unemployment insurance have also settled into a historically low seasonal pattern.

• Most rural counties in Utah have yet to see any improvement in home-building. And, Beaver County is no exception. For the first ten months of 2012, home permits are down 40 percent (compared to the first ten months of 2011). This marks the fifth straight year of declining home-building activity in the county.

• Overall construction permit values for October to January 2012 are down 73 percent primarily because they are compared to a wildly prosperous 2011 (think wind farm construction).

• Third quarter gross taxable sales are not yet available. Previous quarters’ strong business/construction-related investments are partially responsible for the current four-quarter decline in total sales in Beaver County.