Monday, November 24, 2014

San Juan 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.
  • After a promising finish to 2013, San Juan County’s employment growth has dissipated.  The county shed a quarterly average of 19 jobs from second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014, or approximately 0.5 percent. While losing 19 jobs is not cause for panic, this was the first quarter of year-over job losses since early 2013. The goods-producing industries – down 10.6 percent – accounted for the majority of the job losses. Manufacturing employment fell 26.2 percent, which represents a quarterly average of 48 fewer jobs.
  • As job growth stagnated in the county, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly. The rate settled at 8.0 percent in September (up from 7.9 percent in August), which is the second highest among Utah’s 29 counties. San Juan County’s unemployment rate is still markedly higher than both the state and national averages.  
  • Despite the increase in the supply of labor, average monthly wages rose slightly (up 0.2 percent) in the county. Growth in the service-providing industries, especially educational/health/social services and government, contributed rising wages. It also appears that some industries that reduced employment (construction and business/professional services) cut lower paying jobs, which skews average wages upward.
  • Second quarter 2014 taxable sales in San Juan County fell 5.2 percent from second quarter 2013. The county experienced a drop in year-over taxable sales growth for the third time in the last four quarters.