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As the Utah economy goes rolling merrily along, few people realize there are some negatives connected with low unemployment - the robust economy cost the jobs of four people in the Office of Job Training for Economic Development.

Director Carol Berrey said her office, an agency of the Utah Division of Business and Economic Development, receives federal money based upon the unemployment rate. Because Utah's unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, about half the national average, some federal money was withheld and the four people were sent packing.Two people transferred within the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development, one person is looking for a job and one person took a job with the Utah Department of Corrections. Berrey said her agency is continually looking to put itself out of business.

Berrey manages the federal training funds that go to nine local offices and monitors how the money is spent. The money is used to train people to fill specific needs of companies and to fund training programs for youths.

Joe Jenkins, department executive director, said a possible negative of a strong Utah economy is that companies considering locating in Utah fear they won't be able to find enough qualified employees because of Utah's low unemployment rate.

Jenkins said the healthy Utah economy is forcing some companies moving into the state to pay higher wages. A telemarketing firm that came to Utah several years ago paid $4.50 to $5 per hour but now finds itself paying $6-$7 per hour for the same employees because of Utah's strong economy.

He said Berrey's main function is to train employees for Utah businesses and those relocating or expanding into Utah. Through training, many Utahns who are underemployed could elevate themselves from a $4.50-per-hour hamburger flipper to a $7-per-hour assembly-line person in a company expanding into Utah, Jenkins said.

His biggest challenge, he said, is to attract businesses to areas outside the Wasatch Front where unemployment is higher. "We try to find businesses that will fit into the area and offer incentives through an enterprise zone that consists of 11 counties," Jenkins said.

Despite his optimism about the Utah economy, Jenkins said, "It's a little scary at the top because the only way to go is down. It's tough to maintain low unemployment, affordable housing and other things that make the Utah lifestyle attractive for business."