Utah’s economy has been steadily growing over the past 12 months, with a 2.6% increase in nonfarm payroll employment and the addition of 43,500 jobs since April 2022. The current employment numbers in the state are 1,720,300, indicating a strong economy. According to the Utah Department of Labor Services (DWS), the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April 2023 is estimated at 2.3%, with about 41,300 people currently unemployed.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.4% in March, reflecting the state’s consistently low unemployment rate compared to the national rate of 3.4% in April. Mark Nord, chief economist for Utah DWS, stated that there are no major signs of stress or duress in the Utah economy. Nord states, “This year the Utah economy is slowing month-over-month more slowly than ever before. The year started with an annual employment growth rate of 2.9%. Since then, it has declined by a tenth of a percentage point each month, and annual growth is now hovering at 2.6%. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level.”
The economic slowdown has not had a negative impact on the economy. Private sector employment in Utah continued to grow year-over-year in April, with an annual employment growth rate of 2.6%. This represents an increase of 43,800 jobs across Utah in 12 months. The only industry with a decline in employment was the financial sector, which lost 1,800 jobs from the previous year. Nine of the 10 major private sector industry groups posted a net increase in employment compared with the previous year. Growth was led by leisure and services, which added 9,400 jobs, followed by professional and business services (6,800), education and health services (6,200) and other services (5,000).
Nord believes that the overall fate of the Utah economy hinges on the performance of the national economy, stating, “We need a major nationwide recession to throw the Utah economy off track. Conversely, we don’t need a huge boost from the national economy to get the Utah economy back on track.” The April report’s statistics were produced by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC and are modeled on monthly employer (employment) and household (unemployment) surveys.