Federal funds for employment assistance in Utah are being cut by $2.3 million because of the state's low unemployment rate and federal budget tightening.
Utah will receive $17.9 million in Department of Labor funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1, down 11 percent from this year, said Rich Kulczewki, a department spokesman.The decrease means the Utah Department of Employment Security is leaving Job Service positions vacant when employees leave, said Dave Turner, director of field operations.
Job Service is paid for by a Wagner-Peyser Act mandate that requires employers contribute 0.8 percent of the first $7,000 paid to each employee into a federal fund. From that fund, Utah will receive $11.3 million in the coming fiscal year, which is $1 million less than its current budget.
"It's crazy because it comes at a time when demand for our services is escalating," Turner said.
With Utah's rapid growth, more employers are posting positions with Job Service and more clients are seeking its services. Demand for general laborers is so high that Job Service cannot fill employers' positions fast enough.
Job Service is maintaining the services it offers. But with staffing decreasing due to budget cuts, "The process slows down just when we need it to move more quickly," Turner said.
The Utah Office of Job Training, which administers Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) funds, will see its allocation decrease from $7.9 million to $6.6 million, said Judy Kasten Bell, a program administrator.