Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Garfield County Economic Update

After a one-month flirtation with job loss, Garfield County bounced back to moderate job growth in the third quarter of 2015. Indeed, the county seems on track to turn in its best labor market performance in five years. On the other hand, not all industries shared in the economic good news. Joblessness edged up slightly at year-end and remains high due to the seasonal nature of the county’s economy. Peaking in late 2015, first-time claims for unemployment insurance reflect this seasonality. Strong gains in gross taxable sales rounded out this improving picture of Garfield County’s economy.
  • Between September 2014 and September 2015, Garfield County added 73 jobs for a growth rate of nearly 3 percent. 
  • With 100-plus new jobs, the county’s largest industry, tourism-driven leisure/hospitality services was responsible for the lion’s share of new positions. 
  • Construction, professional/business services and local government all suffered notable employment losses. 
  • Garfield County’s unemployment rate increased slightly during the last few months of the year. 
  • In December 2015, Garfield County joblessness registered 8.9 percent, tying with Duchesne County for the highest unemployment rate in the state. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance are following their typical seasonal pattern, running at about the same level as the previous several years. 
  • The seasonal nature of tourism means leisure and hospitality services dominates the area’s claims figures. 
  • The county’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to slowly improve. Between the third quarters of 2014 and 2015, the average wage increased by nearly 3 percent. 
  • Buoyed up by a large increase in accommodation sales, Garfield County’s gross taxable sales surged by 7.3 percent, following behind a long trend of improving sales. 
  • Robust sales in retail trade are also reflected in this strong stance.