Monday, November 5, 2012

Small Private Sector Employers Dominate the Southeast Utah Employment Landscape

Evaluating employment in Utah according to firm size provides a deeper understanding of who employs Utah’s workforce, which in turn can provide an interesting perspective into how different size firms operate in any economic environment. Here, definitions of small, medium, and large firms are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: small is any business that employs 1-49 individuals; medium businesses employ 50-499 individuals; large firms employ at least 500 individuals.
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At the state level, 95 percent of private sector firms are small employers and are responsible for 35 percent of all private sector employment in the state. On the other hand, while large employers represent only less than one percent of all private sector firms in Utah (0.3 percent to be exact), these large firms are responsible for 30 percent of total employment in the state. To what extent may this be the case in other areas of the state? Do large employers dominate the landscape outside of the large metropolitan areas?
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In the Castle Country Economic Service Area (comprised of Emery and Carbon counties), for example, 82 percent of private sector employers are small firms. Thirteen percent are mid-size firms and five percent are large firms. While just five percent businesses are large firms, these five percent are responsible for one in five private sector jobs in the Castle Country region. This is more or less in line with state-level breakdown.

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In the Southeast ESA (Grand and San Juan Counties), 89 percent of private sector employers are small firms, 7 percent are mid-size firms, and just fewer than 4 percent are large firms. Interestingly, whereas large private sector employers were responsible for 20 percent of employment in Castle Country (or 30 percent at the state level), large employers in the Southeast region are responsible for just 5 percent of total private sector employment. In the Southeast, the small employer clearly dominates, employing over 70 percent of total private sector employees. In fact, firms that employ between 25 and 49 employees, on a twelve-year average, make up just under half of all private sector employment in the Southeast region.

Interested in the dynamics of employer size in your region? The upcoming 2012-13 Winter Edition of Local Insights will highlight these and other details regarding employment by firm size.