Utah reaches new low unemployment rate of 2.1%

Mar 18, 2022, 7:51 AM
A “now hiring” sign is pictured at Salt Lake Running Company in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. ...
A “now hiring” sign is pictured at Salt Lake Running Company in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s unemployment rate for February was 2.1%, a drop from the record-low 2.2% in January, 2022.

It is Utah’s lowest recorded unemployment rate according to Department of Workforce Services Director, Nate McDonald.

Combined with a job growth of 4.2%, McDonald told KSL NewsRadio that Utah’s economy is looking up.

“The fact that we’re at 2.1% unemployment and our job growth continues to be in the 4s is looking really good for our economy right now,” McDonald said.

McDonald said that the 4.2% job growth represents a combination of Utahns who are returning to work and people who are moving into Utah.

“One of the things we’ve been tracking is the labor force participation rate. Those people who’ve been out of the labor force on the sidelines, they are coming back,” said McDonald. 

The growth has been particularly good for Utah’s tourism industry, notably in rural Utah’s lodging and hospitality industries.  

The February numbers in Utah, while mostly positive, still present a challenge, albeit a good challenge.

“People are working, but there’s not a lot of labor,” McDonald said. “That’s something that employers struggle with, but it’s a problem they’d rather have than a recession.”

“Right now the opportunities are great for people who are looking for work.”

McDonald pointed out that this report reflects February numbers, and does not take into account current economic issues such as an increased lending rate and the global uncertainty caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Utah’s February private sector employment recorded a year-over-year expansion of 4.5%. All of Utah’s 10 major private-sector industry groups posted net year-over-year job gains, led by Leisure & Hospitality (17,700 jobs); Trade, Transportation, Utilities (13,600); Construction (5,900 jobs); and Education and Health Services (5,600 jobs).

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Utah reaches new low unemployment rate of 2.1%