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Slowing job growth in Utah, elsewhere, could be result of labor shortage

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2020 file photo, a "Now Hiring" sign hangs on the front wall of a Harbor Freight Tools store in Manchester, N.H. some economics experts say federal unemployment benefits may be to blame. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — As the U.S. reported slower job growth for the month of April — showing only 266,000 jobs added compared to 916,000 in March — a Utah economics expert says federal unemployment benefits may be to blame. 

Robert Spendlove with Zions Bank said the drop in job growth came as a surprise. He noted it was “a lot lower than anyone was expecting.”

Utah job growth slowing because of worker shortages

So, how did this happen? 

“I think what’s happening is we’re starting to see, and we’re really seeing it in Utah, there’s labor shortages,” said Spendlove, senior economist. “Employers are having a really hard time finding workers.”

Before the report was released Friday morning, economic forecasters predicted almost a million new jobs. 

There may be several reasons as to why there’s reluctance to jump back into the marketplace. Many employers, particularly in the restaurant and hospitality sector, say there’s minimal interest from applicants, according to the New York Times. 

The Times also reported that many don’t want to return to work yet because of health concerns or childcare needs. 

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