Utah’s unemployment for February remains steady

Mar 22, 2024, 8:31 AM | Updated: 10:27 am

FILE - A hiring sign is displayed at a grocery store, Oct. 5, 2023, in Deerfield, Ill. Most busines...

FILE - A hiring sign is displayed at a grocery store, Oct. 5, 2023, in Deerfield, Ill. Most business economists think the U.S. economy could avoid a recession in 2024, even if the job market ends up weakening under the weight of high interest rates, according to a survey released Monday, Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Workforce Services released the state’s job report for February on Friday morning. The February report shows Utah unemployment is stable with no change over the last month at 2.8%. The state’s unemployment remains lower than the U.S. rate — which is 3.9%. 

Department of Workforce Services, Spokesperson Jared Mendenhall joined Utah’s Morning News to break down the numbers. 

“The numbers that were just released, shows that the unemployment rate was at 2.8% and a year-over job increase was 1.9%,” said Mendenhall. :I know what you’re thinking you’re thinking those numbers sound a lot like January’s numbers and you’d be correct.”

“We’ve hit a point when you’re looking at economic markets in our system,” he said. “It’s always looking to find this equilibrium point and what we’ve seen over the past couple of months into we’re sort of settling into this point of equilibrium, where it’s it’s a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ — where it isn’t too hot and it isn’t too cold.”

According to the report, Utah added a cumulative 32,600 jobs over the last 12 months. There are approximately 51,100 people unemployed currently. 

According to Mendenhall, there are a few factors on our stable economy.

“We’re still seeing some job growth and we still have that low unemployment that’s below that 3% range,” Mendenhall said. “There’s a couple of factors that are they’re leading to that… we’ve had months and months and months of this really, really low on employment and eventually that acts as a ceiling that just kind of inhibits further job growth because they’re just isn’t labor.”

Additionally, Mendenhall said there has been a shift in domestic migration which has slowed. 

“If you’re if you’re in Texas or California and you got a 2% interest rate[on a mortgage], it really isn’t in your best interest to sell a home and then move to another state where you’re going to have to pick up a 6.5% percent interest rate,” he said. 

Utah’s private sector

Private sector employment recorded a gain of 19,800 jobs. Seven of the ten major private-sector industry groups posted net year-over-year job gains. The biggest growth was seen in education and health services, construction and professional business services. 

Related: Utah employment sees an increase in January

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Utah’s unemployment for February remains steady