Utah employment numbers rose by more than 32,000 in the May Jobs report released today by the Utah Division of Workforce Services.
The largest year-over-year gains in employment happened in the trade, transportation, and utilities industries. They saw a growth of almost 11,000 jobs. Professional and business services and the leisure and hospitality industry saw large gains as well. The report shows that Utah’s unemployment number fell to 4.6%. Natalie Gochnour, chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, says in a typical economy of our size the number won’t get much lower than that.
“We’re always going to have unemployment because of people transitioning between jobs and the like, so a 4.6% rate, while not ideal, is very close to ideal.”
The only industry group that saw a decline in employment was the government sector. Gochnour says the loss is in part due to the effects of federal spending cuts.
“We do need a federal government to get in control of its spending and cut, but sequestration cutbacks are across the board and not very strategic and I think that’s a hurt to our economy.” Utah’s unemployment rate is well below the 7.6 percent unemployment rate seen at the national level.