Utah’s employment numbers for February keep the state among the top five in the country with the lowest unemployment rate. The non-farm payroll employment grew by an estimated two and a half percent adding 32,200 jobs compared to the same month last year. Construction jobs had the highest single increase at 6.2 percent with 4100 new jobs. Carrie Mayne is the Chief Economist with the Department of Workforce Services. She says weather helped add builders to the workforce but construction is still a long way from reaching pre-recession levels.
“Now we don’t know if it will ever go back to those levels. It was really a hot, hot industry before the turndown in the economy," says Mayne. "But it has a lot of room for growth and that may be one of the driving forces there is it’s just coming back into normal levels.”
Mayne says no breakout growth in any one group is expected for the spring and summer seasons.
“So we feel the forecast right now is slow and steady, strong growth continuing to add jobs to the economy at a moderate but steady rate,” Mayne says.
February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady from January at 3.9 percent. The national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent was also unchanged for the month.