Utah ranks as top leading state in job recovery

The COVID pandemic has affected the global economy tremendously throughout the last two years. As the US has begun to recover, Utah has had one of the best job recovery rates in the nation.

In a new study by WalletHub, Utah was ranked second with a bounceback of unemployment rates. The Utah Department of Workforce Services reported 59,200 jobs added since December 2019. 

The overall unemployment rate of the US sits at 3.9% compared to 14.7% in April 2020. Followed by Nebraska, Utah had a 1.9% unemployment rate in December. While many states were dealing with employment due to the omicron variant, Utah businesses were hardly affected. 

Mark Knold, Chief Economist at the Department of Workforce Services commented on Utah’s progress. 

“Each month the unemployment rate moved lower and lower, finally sinking last month into historic territory. The state’s unemployment rate is now below 2.0% for the first time ever. This is uncharted territory in terms of such a low unemployment rate and gauging how much lower it can conceivably go.”

Jobless claims have been on the decline as more employers have hired in hospitality and transportation services, construction and manufacturing. The US Department of Labor reported that there were 199,000 jobs added in December nationwide. 

In the report by WalletHub, an increase in vaccinations and looser pandemic restrictions have been attributed to job growth and a recovering economy.

States that are having a slower job recovery rate include California, New Jersey, Nevada and Hawaii. Many of the states having a lower recovery rate have some of the strictest COVID rules put in place. 

According to the California Center for Jobs & The Economy, California is not expected to see a full recovery until 2023. 

Utah has no travel or quarantine restrictions for visitors out of state. State parks encourage social distancing but allow travelers to honor etiquette. However, national parks require masks due to the National Park Service’s mask mandate.

According to Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation, Utah parks contribute more than $6.4 billion to the economy and employ more than 83,000 people. 

Southern Utah has had a strong recovery due to the population increase. The 2020 Census showed the Washington County population increase by 30.5% and Iron County by 24.1%. 

St. George Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Don Willie claimed the population increase is growing in an “awesome way.”

Washington and Iron Counties make up 7.26% of the total Utah population. 

“The future for our businesses is incredibly bright,” Willie said.

Although the economy continues to grow, Willie acknowledged concerns that many Americans have with their businesses. Issues like the supply chain, inflation, wages and the workforce service still worries Utahns. However, as unemployment rates continue to drop, the Utah economy has strong potential to thrive. 

Article by: Lexi Hamel


Photo by: Kace Lott on Unsplash