Officials urge Utahns to continue seeking job opportunities amid pandemic

Oct 22, 2020, 5:05 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Although jobless claims in Utah are still high, officials at the Department of Workforce Services say they’re optimistic for the future. 

The department reported 4,264 new unemployment compensation claims for the week of Oct. 11-17. When adding that figure to the number of continuing claims (those who are renewing unemployment benefits rather than applying for the first time), Utah paid benefits to 38,843 people who are out of work. That’s a drop from the 42,229 the week before. 

“Utah’s economy has proven to be very diverse, very resilient,” said Kevin Burt, director of the unemployment insurance division. “There are some industries that are really doing very well and growing, so we encourage people to actively look for work, even if it’s in an industry that they have not worked before.”

Although the number of jobless claims in Utah is up nearly four times the amount it was a year ago, the agency reported a decrease in weekly requests. 

That’s a good sign, Burt said. He also urged Utahns dealing with unemployment to continue looking for jobs. 

“The employment insurance program will not last the length of this pandemic,” Burt said during the department’s weekly press conference. “It has been a generous benefit to provide that safety net for the last several months, but it will not last beyond those 39 weeks.”

Although the unemployment rate grew to 5% for the month of September — up from 4.1% the month before — officials said this may be because more Utahns are entering the job market. 

Utah’s labor participation rate increased from 67.4% to 68.8% — meaning more Utahns are actively seeking employment.

“What this says is that individuals who have been discouraged and decided to retract themselves from that market have decided to re-enter,” said Taylor Randall, economic recovery lead for Utah’s Unified Response Team. “So the good news is we have more Utahns looking for work.”

This comes as the U.S. average labor participation rate dropped from 61.7% to 61.4%. 

“We know that we have many jobs that are out there and ready for people to jump into,” Randall said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A car ran into a house in Hurricane Sunday morning, police say. No injuries to the driver or the oc...

Devin Oldroyd

Car crashes into house in Hurricane Sunday morning

A car ran into a house in Hurricane Sunday morning, police say. No injuries to the driver or the occupants of the house were reported.

8 hours ago

FILE — Handcuffs hang from a rail inside the Wasatch entry of the old Utah State Prison in Draper...

Mary Culbertson, KSLTV

Man accused of manslaughter after allegedly selling fentanyl that led to overdose

One man was arrested and accused of manslaughter after authorities believe he sold fentanyl to a victim who died of overdose.

9 hours ago

Kenneth Mitchell, here in 2018, has died....

Megan Thomas, CNN

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Marvel’ actor, dead at 49

Originally Published: 25 FEB 24 14:49 ET Updated: 25 FEB 24 15:05 ET (CNN) — Kenneth Mitchell, an actor who appeared in the series “Star Trek: Discovery” and Marvel’s “Captain Marvel,” has died, his family announced in a statement shared on his verified social media Sunday. He was 49. “With heavy hearts we announce the […]

11 hours ago

Charles E. Escalera, 21...

Michelle Watson and Maria Sole Campinoti, CNN

Kentucky man arrested in connection with death of Campbellsville University student

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a student at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

13 hours ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and President Joe Biden toast before Biden speaks to members of the Na...

Darlene Superville

Biden and Utah’s governor call for less bitterness and more bipartisanship in the nation’s politics

President Joe Biden and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox spoke at the White House during a black-tie dinner for the nation's governors.

16 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...


Trump wins South Carolina, easily beating Haley in her home state and closing in on GOP nomination

Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Officials urge Utahns to continue seeking job opportunities amid pandemic