Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Iron County Economic Update

Iron’ County’s labor market heated up in the second quarter of 2016. Keep in mind that this scorching level of job growth is not sustainable and should be watched for signs of overextension. Also, several industries experienced job losses. Nevertheless, the current employment gains mark a welcome respite from earlier years. As in most Utah counties, joblessness ticked up in spring and early summer only to subside in recent months. The county’s rate remains virtually unchanged from August of last year. First-time claims for unemployment insurance showed an unseasonal increase earlier in the summer (contributing to higher joblessness), but have since abated. Construction permitting is down from last year, but only because permitting in 2015 measured unusually high. Gross taxable sales rounded out this bright economic picture with a health performance.

  • Iron County added nearly 1,100 new jobs between June 2015 and June 2016 for a sizzling growth rate of nearly 7 percent. 
  • Retail trade, government, leisure/hospitality services, healthcare/social services and construction all contributed at least 100 positions each to the overall job improvement. 
  • However, not all industries shared in the employment joy. Information, mining and wholesale trade all lost notable numbers of jobs. 
  • Joblessness increased in spring and early summer as layoffs took their toll, but has rolled back somewhat in recent months. 
  • In August 2016, the county’s unemployment rate measured 4.4 percent, roughly equal to a year ago. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance measured noticeably higher than average during the summer months, but have since subsided. 
  • Construction has generated the largest number of new claims so far this year as projects have come to a close. 
  • However, professional/business services (which includes temp agencies), retail trade and leisure/hospitality services also experienced strong claims activity. 
  • After stalling somewhat earlier in the year. 
  • Iron County’s average monthly wage resumed its upward trend with 3-percent growth between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • Iron County’s construction permit values showed a significant decline for the first eight months of 2016 due to the comparison with usually high nonresidential permitting in 2015. 
  • On the other hand, homebuilding is up significantly from last year. 
  • Gross taxable sales also showed strong improvement with a second quarter year-to-year increase of nearly 8 percent. 
  • Sales gains in retail trade proved particularly robust.