Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iron County Economic Update

Iron County’s economic momentum continued through to the end of 2014. Overall, fourth quarter employment figures remained strong with most industries sharing in the expansion. Despite the strong labor market growth, unemployment rates have essentially flattened. However, rates register lower than the national average. Moreover, first-time claims for unemployment insurance show no unseasonal spikes. Construction permitting activity picked up during 2014. Only fourth-quarter sales showed any sign of weakness.

  • On a year-to-year basis, Iron County added almost 470 net new jobs in December 2014 for an expansion rate of nearly 3 percent. 
  • Leisure and hospitality services appeared as the only major industry to lose jobs. 
  • Retail trade, private educational/health/social services and the public sector created the largest number of new positions. All three goods-producing industries – mining , construction, and manufacturing – contributed to the expansion. 
  • Iron County’s unemployment rate slipped marginally to 4.2 percent in March 2015 and remains historically low. 
  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance followed a seasonal pattern in early 2015 with construction and professional/business services (which includes “temp” agencies) generating the largest counts. 
  • In 2014, Iron County approved the most home permits since the recession. Overall, permitting values increased by almost 50 percent compared to 2013. 
  • One large utility permit helped drive nonresidential permit values up by more than 500 percent. 
  • Between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014, Iron County’s total gross taxable sales dropped by 2.6 percent, the first decline since mid-2011. 
  • A large decline in business investment expenditures coupled with a previous-quarter adjustment proved responsible for most of the drop. 
  • Retail trade sales registered very strong gains. 
  • Sales of new cars and trucks dipped by 6 percent between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014. 
  • Iron County’s population increased by a moderate 1.2 percent in 2014. 
  • During 2014, Iron County experienced the strongest surge of population growth of the 2010 to 2014 time frame adding 560 residents 
  • Overall, the county has experienced net out-migration between 2010 and 2014.