Monday, November 24, 2014

Grand County Economic Indicators

Despite the positive momentum across the state, the Castle Country and Southeast regions have scuffled to recover from the recession. Both regions felt the effects of the downturn in 2009, when the labor markets shed 202 and 283 jobs from the previous year, respectively. 2010 turned out to be the best year for the labor market in Castle Country since the recovery began. The Southeast region turned the corner in 2010 and has had uneven job growth since, though the first half of 2014 has shown signs of greater expansion. Some of the issues facing these economies are cyclical; while other challenges – like those facing the mining industry – are longer-term structural shifts in the economy.
  • Grand County has been the exception among the Castle Country and Southeast counties in terms of payroll employment growth. The 3.1 percent year-over job growth in first quarter 2014 was surpassed by job gains of 4.2 percent in the second quarter. On average the county added 225 jobs from second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014. Leisure/hospitality and construction were the big contributors, adding 59 and 49 employees, respectively.
  • The recent momentum in the county’s labor market has had a dramatic effect on the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate, which has fallen from 7 percent in January 2014 to 5 percent in September. While 5 percent is still notably higher than the Utah average (3.5 percent), the two percentage point decline represents 106 fewer people unemployed.
  • As the labor market picked up steam in the second quarter of 2014, so too did average wages in the county. Year-over average monthly wages grew 2.3 percent, 0.6 percentage point faster than the Utah rate. The service-producing industries saw the largest increases, especially in leisure/hospitality which increased average monthly wages 6.3 percent.
  • Second quarter 2014 taxable sales in Grand County increased by the largest proportion of any county in the state, jumping 22.5 percent from 2013. Accommodation and mining increased sales by the more than any other industries in the county, improving $6 million and $3.4 million, respectively from second quarter 2013.