Chief Economist Says St. George Is Utah’s Heaviest Economy – St George News

File photo of St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of City of St. George, St. George News

ST. GEORGE- St. George has one of Utah’s fastest growing and burdensome economies, said Mark Knold, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services.

In his Soundcloud analysis, Knold said Utah had another month of strong economic numbers.

“Utah’s economy continues to amaze that it can add jobs to the amount it has with — on paper — virtually no additional labor available to keep that fire going,” Knold said.

According to Utah’s employment summary released Friday, Utah’s nonfarm employment has increased about 4% over the past 12 months, with the state adding 62,900 jobs since March 2021.

Utah’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was posted at 2%, with about 33,400 Utahns currently unemployed. By comparison, the national unemployment rate is 3.6%, the summary says.

A chart comparing Utah’s and the nation’s unemployment rates, date and location not specified | Image courtesy of Utah Department of Workforce Services, St. George News

While Utah gains new workers through migration and recent graduates, St. George’s growth is significantly fueled by people migrating from California, Knold said.

St. George has Utah’s heaviest economy, he added, calling it an “interesting conundrum” and noting that 28% of St. George’s workforce is 65 or older. It is also one of the fastest growing economies in the state, he said.

By comparison, he said only 15% of the state’s workforce is over 65 and the national average is 20%.

“Think of it this way, 28% of the local population of St. George consumes the area’s trade but adds little or nothing to the output of the area’s trade,” Knold said. “Thus, the remaining 72% must do all the production for this 28% and this, only to support this non-producing but fully consuming segment of the local population. This says nothing about the remaining 72% who must take care of all the travelers and tourists who cross the region daily.

He said St. George’s saving grace is that it also has a heavy economy, with most of its workforce aged between 16 and 30. Additionally, younger workers are generally more active in the labor market, he said.

Employment growth in Iron County has increased 4.9% over the past year and about 0.5% since February. Additionally, employment in Washington County has increased 4.5% since last March and about 0.8% since February.

Nine of Utah’s top 10 private-sector industry groups saw year-over-year job growth, with the exception of the professional and business services industry, which often employs a labor force. excess labor, according to the job summary.

“But with historically low unemployment, there isn’t much of a pool of excess labor to work with,” the summary adds.

Utah was also recently ranked as the No. 1 state for economic outlook for the 15th constituent year by the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index..

“After 15 years of being the top-ranked state, we never took its success for granted,” Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams said in a statement. “We continue to reach new heights and are determined never to be complacent. As a state, we buckle down during tough times, building on our forward-thinking reserve funds and preparing for future uncertainties during good economic times.

April employment information will be released May 20 at 7 a.m., according to the Utah Employment Summary. For more information, visit the Utah Department of Workforce Services website.

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