Monday, November 4, 2013

Iron County Economic Update

When it comes to economic recovery, Iron County may have felt it was “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” Although the county has maintained its employment levels fairly well for the last several years, it just hasn’t been able to break through to full-fledged expansion. However, recently released jobs figures for second quarter 2013 seem to suggest the county is poised to take the plunge. Between June 2012 and June 2012, Iron County produced its best employment performance since the beginning of the recession. True, a growth rate of 2 percent is probably nothing to write home about. However, it certainly seems to portend a better economic outlook. Moreover, the county’s other economic indicators also show an economy headed towards better health. For more details and visualizations, click "read more."

  • Between June 2012 and June 2013, Iron County’s nonfarm jobs increased by 290 positions. This 2-percent gain marks the best employment performance in more than five years.
  • Not all industries shared in the current gains. Notably, manufacturing, retail trade, information and professional/business services each lost 30 jobs or more.
  • The public sector added the largest number of new positions followed by leisure/hospitality services and construction. In addition, private education/health/social services also contributed a substantial number of new jobs.
  • As in most Utah counties, unemployment continued to trend downward in Iron County. In August 2013, the county’s jobless rate measured 5.9 percent –a notable decline from the August 2012 figure of 7.1 percent. Currently, Iron County’s unemployment rate is nestled between the state (4.7 percent) and national (7.3 percent) figures.
  • Apart from a decided uptick resulting from the temporary federal government shutdown, first-time claims for unemployment insurance have settled into their normal seasonal pattern.
  • Construction permitting reflects the strong increase in construction employment. Total permitted values for the first four months of 2013 show a whopping 435-percent increase over the same time period in 2012. Both new residential and nonresidential permits contributed to the overall gain.
  • Iron County’s second quarter gross taxable sales showed a healthy 5-percent year-to-year gain and mark the eighth straight quarter of improvement.
  • Second quarter new light truck and cars sales are also up compared to last year, although the 3-percent gain may seem to pale in comparison to previous surges.