Job Numbers Up, Unemployment Down in Utah

(KCPW News) The number of jobs in Utah has grown by almost 19,000 over the past year, according to a new employment summary from the Utah Department of Workforce Services. And unemployment dipped from 7.6 percent in March to 7.4 percent in April.  But DWS Chief Economist Mark Knold says to keep in mind the state lost about 80,000 jobs during the recession, a giant hole that’s slowly being refilled.

”Still too many people idled on the sidelines.” He says. “We still do have some job losses going on but it is slowing down and in summary, for every one job that we’re losing we might be gaining one and a half jobs on the other side.”

Knold says we’re seeing growth in manufacturing, driven by the low value of the dollar, along with healthcare and education, which survived the slump, and professional and business services. He says construction has yet to make any kind of rebound, and on the same note, neither has housing.

“Some of these industries we talked about how they’re doing okay and moving forward on their own, but housing is the drag, the anchor that’s still kind of holding things back.” Knold says. “It’s like pushing on the gas pedal and the brake at the same time and housing’s the brake.”

Knold says prices are still falling, so people aren’t moving as they wait for them to continue falling. He says getting foreclosed homes through the market and out of the way will start bringing housing costs back up, and in turn, the economy.