Utah unemployment rate lowest ever since pandemic, among highest in nation

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A hiring sign is placed at a booth for Jameson’s Irish Pub during a job fair Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Americans quit their jobs at a record pace for the second straight month in September, while businesses and other employers continued to post a near-record number of available jobs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In the latest employment report, Utah has now recorded its lowest unemployment rate ever.

Overall, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) reports about a 3.7% increase in nonfarm payroll employment for October 2021. The report tracks job growth from October 2019 to October 2021.

Utah’s October unemployment rate now stands at 2.2%, which is second-highest in the nation. Utah’s two-year job growth at 3.4% is currently the highest in the nation. Utah is also one of only three states showing positive job change. The national unemployment rate is 4.6% for comparison.

The state has added around 58,500 new jobs since October 2019, before the pandemic struck. Experts say Utah’s economy has nearly completed its comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic but there is a new problem at hand for employers.

A recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts found the majority of states now have more jobs than residents who are jobless, with Utah leading the pack.

“The labor market in Utah continues to get tighter and tighter,” says Mark Knold, Chief Economist at the Department of Workforce Services. “As people continue to fill jobs, the pool of idle, available labor keeps shrinking.

“It is the outcome of an economy largely moving along at the forceful pace it did before the pandemic with a labor force that does not desire to be engaged at the same levels as it did before the pandemic,” says Knold. “This makes for fewer available workers.”

Utah’s October private sector employment recorded a two-year expansion of 4.9%. Eight out of Utah’s ten major private sectors reported gains led by the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (20,900 jobs); Professional and Business Services (15,500 jobs); Construction (10,800 jobs); and Manufacturing (7,900 jobs).

The two industry groups with less reported employment than two years ago are Leisure and Hospitality Services (-1,200 jobs); and Natural Resources and Mining (-1,200 jobs).

To see the full jobs report, click here.

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