As a Utah-based civil engineering firm serving the entire state, and beyond, we watch very closely the economic conditions of our home state. And we couldn’t be happier with how Utah is doing. We offer civil and structural engineering services to businesses and organizations in a state ripe for growth. But why is Utah’s economy so resilient? What makes the Beehive State so special? Let’s take a deeper look.
Job Growth in Utah Remains Strong
Utah’s economy and labor supply continue to perform strongly due to the states growing population. Nationally, many states are suffering from population decline, which leads to anemic growth and a poor environment for businesses to thrive. Conversely, people are moving to Utah in droves. This massive population growth has led to a thriving environment for businesses.
Utah’s nonfarm employment rate for October increased approximately 3.1% across the past 12 months, and the state’s economy added an estimated 50,600 jobs since October 2021, according to the October job report from the Utah Department of Workforce Services. This level of growth sets Utah apart from other states in the Southwest or Intermountain West.
At the time of this publication, there were approximately 1,690,000 jobs in Utah. In total, over 37,300 Utahns are unemployed, and October’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment remains unchanged at 2.1%. Contrast that with the national unemployment rate, which is 3.70% and you can see why Utah is doing so well. A low unemployment rate and healthy business activity point to a state setting the standard for its peers.
When it comes to labor participation, all labor offering itself for work is being absorbed by Utah businesses. If Utah residents want a job, it is not difficult to find one in this current environment. Our economy continues to be one of the nation’s best-performing state economies. Labor markets are tight across the nation, even to the point of restricting growth in many states. But not in Utah. An unemployment rate of 2.1% does signal that the Utah labor market is extremely tight. Yet the economy continues to grow at a vigorous pace.
Growth in the Private Sector Drives Utah’s Economy
This high level of growth speaks to both the resilience and attractiveness of Utah and its economy. Only a strong flow of labor in migration can support a low unemployment rate economy growing at this pace. And that is exactly what Utah is experiencing. And people all over the country know it, otherwise, they would not be coming here. They know that if they want a good-paying job, Utah is a fantastic destination.
Private sector employment in Utah recorded a 46,900 job increase in October, an expansion of 3.4%, according to the Department of Workforce Services. The following sectors all saw big growth in Utah:
- Transportation Services
- Healthcare, Hospital, and Medical Services
The only industries that saw appreciable declines were financial services, professional and business services, and service sector jobs. Layoffs have been heavy in the white-collar job sector and you can see it in the data produced in Utah’s unemployment numbers.
Tourism continues to be a bright spot in Utah’s business picture. People are flocking to Park City for amazing snowing and Canyonlands National Park for otherworldly landscapes. Tourism remains a valuable and, in some areas, a vital part of Utah’s economic picture.
Retiring Workers and New Job Seekers Cloud the Job Picture
Overall, U.S. economy expanded to the largest it’s ever been in recorded history. The major reason behind this is the combination of surplus workers from the Baby Boomer generation leaving the workforce just as Millennials and Gen Zers continue adding to it. Most of the Baby Boomers are retiring and exiting the production side of the economy, and they did not birth enough babies to match the number of workers from their generation. What is the result? An overall decline in labor supply puts pressure on the economy to get smaller, not larger. And yet, there is a lot of overlap, resulting in a massive economy.
Because for every Utah Baby Boomer who leaves the economy, there are roughly two young Utah workers available to backfill the void. Even though unemployment is low and the labor market continues to show strength, how long will it be able to keep up with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to combat inflation?
Utah also benefits from being a net receiver of population from in-migration, which combined with the large internal supply of labor, contributes to Utah’s growing and strong economy. The takeaway here is that in many cases, Utahns are not leaving the state to find careers elsewhere once they are able. No, instead they stay right here in the Beehive State and lend their skills to the growth of their home state.
We’re proud to be a Utah-based civil engineering firm. We’ve worked on projects across the state and continue to leave our mark on buildings, roads, bridges, and projects that future generations can appreciate. Thanks, Utah!