Utah job growth is strong despite national report

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Monthly national jobs report showed a loss for the first time in seven years. Economist note this may be a fluke, but say Utah’s job growth is nearly double the national average.

33,000 jobs were lost in the month of September, but experts believe it may have been due to hurricanes which hit Texas and Florida. They note many of the other numbers in the report show strong economic trends.

In Utah many companies have found jobs are not the issue, but finding workers to fill them is. Rich Thorn is the President & CEO of Associated General Contractors of Utah which represents several large scale construction companies.

“We are just having trouble finding enough people to fill the jobs and take advantage of the opportunity that we see right now,”. Said Thorn.

Thorn said he’s never seen a time where companies were offering so many benefits to attract workers. While no jobs have been denied or pushed back, he notes many contractors may not be able to bid on a project due to lack of workers.

Construction has been one of the biggest industries in the state for the last few months and Thorn said it’s giving them long term job security.

“They’ve got backlogs of work that are as much as 12 months, 18 months or even two years of backlog which is terrific,” said Thorn.

In Utah the job growth rate is 2.4 percent compared to 1.6 percent nationally. Our state is also showing the best personal income growth at 4.9 percent.

Nate McDonald is the Chief Communications Officer for the Department of Workforce Services and said it’s one of the reasons economist don’t worry about just one month of jobs numbers.

“We’re never overly concerned over one month of numbers,” said McDonald. “They want to see how it plays out over time.”

McDonald said the state’s main focus are training programs so people can fill the positions which are being left open. They note the good news is it’s pushing up wages because of competition. They worry having worker shortages for too long could start to impact the economy.

While many areas of the economy have been booming, not all have seen success. McDonald points out that mining and natural resources have seen declines in the last year. Mainly due to low oil prices.

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