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Recent layoffs pushed Utah's joblessness rate to 4.2 percent in May, but the state is still 2.7 percent below the national average.

"The layoffs Utah has experienced in the past several months have finally begun to show up in the state's unemployment rate. However, Utah's economy is still incredibly strong in the wake of the U.S. downturn," said Lecia Parks Langston, chief economist for the Utah Department of Employment Security.The nation's unemployment rate jumped to 6.9 percent in May as another 370,000 Americans were added to jobless rolls, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. The rise in the civilian unemployment rate was a sharp 0.3 percentage points higher than April's rate of 6.6 percent.

Approximately 33,900 Utahns were out of work in May, 800 fewer than in May a year ago. The state's jobless rate for May is down two-tenths of a percentage point from May 1990.

Additionally, Utah's non-metro economies are faring much better. Virtually all counties have unemployment rates below 10 percent.

Langston said strong employment growth has kept Utah joblessness low. Most Utah industries continued to ignore the national recession. Non-agricultural jobs totaled 749,800 in May 1991, a 4 percent increase over May 1990.