BUSINESS + ECONOMY

May’s Utah employment report showing signs of inflation impact

Jun 17, 2022, 10:36 AM | Updated: 10:43 am

A now hiring sign in an Arby's window.; the Utah employment summary for May showed a slight slowing...

A “now hiring” sign at an Arby’s in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News.)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News.)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Workforce Services released its May 2022 employment summary Friday morning.

The unemployment rate for the month landed at 2.0% compared to last month’s rate of 1.9%. Utah’s rate continued to sit below the national average, which came in at 3.6%.

Utah’s current job count tallied 1,662,300, a 3.5% increase in the past 12 months.

“Utah’s economic performance continues to push along at a strong pace,” said Mark Knold, Chief Economist at the Department of Workforce Services.

“The unemployment rate remains at a historically low level, and job growth is still one of the nation’s best. The job growth rate has been abating as the year has progressed. This is expected and is a reflection of the current performance compared to a Utah economy that was rapidly improving a year ago. As this year progresses, the more the economy improves from a year ago, the more this year’s job growth will trend downward. We anticipate that by later this year Utah’s job growth rate will be around its yearly average of 3.0%.”

The report showed private-sector employment recorded a 50,100 job increase over the past 12-month period led by Trade, Transportation, Utilities, Leisure and Hospitality, Construction and Education and Health Services.

Nate McDonald, deputy director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, noted that job growth slowed slightly.

“Job growth slowed a little bit as well, it went from 3.8% to 3.5%,” said Mcdonald, adding, “You can’t sustain job growth at a high level when your unemployment rate is at 1.9% and 2%…You’re going to see some slowing and that’s just what we’re seeing happen there.”

The slowing of the economy wasn’t unexpected, according to Knold.

“The private sector growth rate slowed by an unexpectedly large amount; five-tenths of a percentage point.”

Knold noted that the percentage point declines aren’t a lot but pointed out that the trend gives a wider picture. 

“May largely represents the first month that we are starting to get a full impact view of how higher gas prices and higher inflation and the fed increasing interest rates may be impacting Utah’s economy,” Knold said.

Kate Davis contributed to the reporting of this story.

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May’s Utah employment report showing signs of inflation impact