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Utah jobless rate down to 3.1 percent

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Utah’s jobless rate is approaching historically low levels.

Jordan Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's jobless rate is approaching historically low levels.

The state Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that January’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point from the prior month to register at 3.1 percent. Utah's lowest unemployment rate was 2.4 percent during the period of January through April in 2007.

Current data indicates that approximately 49,200 Utahns were unemployed during the month and actively seeking work. In comparison, the national unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

Nonfarm payroll employment in the Beehive State grew by an estimated 2.9 percent in January, adding 41,300 jobs to the economy over the previous 12-month period. There are currently more than 1.4 million Utahns registered as gainfully employed, the department reported. The agency noted that December’s year-over-year job growth was revised from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent.

The state’s private sector employment grew by 3.2 percent year over year, adding 37,800 new jobs to the economy. All 10 private sector industry groups measured in the establishment survey posted net job increases in January, the agency reported.

The largest private sector employment increases were in leisure and hospitality, which added 8,700 jobs; construction, which created 7,500 new positions; and trade, transportation and utilities, which added 7,000 new jobs. Meanwhile, the fastest employment growth occurred in construction — up 8.5 percent; leisure and hospitality — up 6.3 percent; and financial activities — up 2.8 percent.

“The first look at 2018 shows the state continuing on a healthy path of labor market expansion,” said Department of Workforce Services chief economist Carrie Mayne. “Job growth remains near the long-run average, and unemployment figures indicate the state continues to operate at full employment."

"Utah’s unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for four years," Mayne said. "In the past four years of maintaining unemployment below 4 percent, we have increased our labor force participation rate from 68.1 percent to 69.3 percent."