Utah’s unemployment rate for March ticked slightly up from February to 4.1% but that isn't necessarily a bad sign. The rate increased two tenths of a percent from February’s unemployment rate of 3.9%. But Utah Department of Workforce Services Economist Mark Knold says it’s actually a sign that Utah’s economy is improving.
“It’s kind of an indication or period here where we might be saying, hey some of those people who have been sitting on the sidelines for a while are starting to come back now and look for a job, and until they find a job they’re going to be in the unemployment rate and they’re actually pushing the unemployment rate up a bit,” he says.
While the unemployment rate went up, Utah continues to see positive job growth at a rate of 2.8%. More than 35 thousand jobs have been added to the economy since March of 2013. Knold says the prospects for even more growth going forward look great, particularly because the main driver of the recovery hasn’t been construction.
“Historically, construction is a real driver coming out of recessions," he says. "So, we’ve got good job growth going with minimal contributions from the construction industry and that’s why I say there’s room for this growth rate to go higher because there’s room for the construction industry to really step up and make a contribution to the recovery.”
About 1.3 million Utahns are currently employed. Almost 63 thousand are unemployed but actively seeking work.