Monday, November 24, 2014

Carbon County Economic Indicators

Despite the positive momentum across the state, the Castle Country and Southeast regions have scuffled to recover from the recession. Both regions felt the effects of the downturn in 2009, when the labor markets shed 202 and 283 jobs from the previous year, respectively. 2010 turned out to be the best year for the labor market in Castle Country since the recovery began. The Southeast region turned the corner in 2010 and has had uneven job growth since, though the first half of 2014 has shown signs of greater expansion. Some of the issues facing these economies are cyclical; while other challenges – like those facing the mining industry – are longer-term structural shifts in the economy.
  • Carbon County payroll job growth in the second quarter of 2014 fell to an annual rate of negative 2.0 percent, the fourth slowest year-over job growth in the state and 4.8 percentage points slower than the Utah average. In total, the region lost 178 jobs from second quarter 2013. Employment in the mining industry fell 2.6 percent, but has stabilized somewhat over the last 18 months.
  • The county seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained at 4.7 percent in September, 1.2 percentage points above the state average. County unemployment rates are down 1.0 percentage point from September 2013, and have consistently been at this level for seven months now.
  • While employment in Carbon County waned over the last 12 months, average monthly wages increased 3.0 percent from second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014. It appears that the jobs lost in several key industries – trade/transportation/utilities, mining, and professional/business services – were lower paying jobs, because these industries all experienced year-over increases to average monthly wages.
  • Second-quarter taxable sales in Carbon County stayed relatively unchanged from 2013 to 2014, falling 0.3 percent during the year. Sales in general merchandise retail stores increased by approximately $1.1 million (6.6 percent) from second quarter 2013, the largest annual increase in the county. But, these gains were offset by year-over taxable sales declines in wholesale trade of durable goods.