Thursday, July 30, 2015

Iron County Economic Update

Following on the heels of a healthy employment expansion through most of 2014, Iron County growth slackened in the first few months of 2015. However, the sluggishness can be traced to just one industry while most other sectors fared better. Job growth proved sufficient to shrink the area’s unemployment rate and first-time claims for unemployment insurance remained low. Construction permitting values shot up, which should buoy up employment levels in the months ahead. In addition, sales turned in a healthy first-quarter performance. Although job growth slowed somewhat in the early months of the year, the county’s economy seems economically fit.

  • Between March 2014 and March 2015, Iron County added nearly 300 nonfarm jobs for a year-to-year growth rate of roughly 2 percent.
  • A decrease in construction-related mining employment slowed overall expansion. Most major industries took up mining’s employment slack.
  • Construction, manufacturing, retail trade, professional/business services, healthcare/social services and the public sector all created notable numbers of new positions.
  • Iron County’s jobless rate slipped to 4.2 percent in June 2015, down 0.3 percentage points since June of 2014.
  • Currently, Iron County’s jobless rate registers at the lowest level since the beginning of the recession.
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance remained low during the first half of the summer.
  • Construction and professional/business services (which includes temporary help agencies) have shown the largest numbers of new claims so far this year.
  • Iron County’s average wages continue to slowly increase.
  • For the four quarters ending March 2015, the county’s average monthly wage measured almost $2,800.
  • Iron County started out the construction-permitting year with a bang.
  • For the first five months of 2015, total permit values more than doubled the comparable year-ago figure.
  • Permits for solar projects accounted for much of the current increase.
  • Residential permitting also held its own. The number of new home permits issued rose 24 percent during the first five months of 2015.
  • Between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, Iron county’s gross taxable sales increased by almost 6 percent.
  • Business investment expenditures in utilities coupled with strong leisure/hospitality services and general merchandise store sales kept sales figures robust.