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Utah jobless rate at 5.2 percent

By Jasen Lee | Posted - Mar 23rd, 2013 @ 1:00pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate — generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — registered 5.2 percent for February.

Estimates show that approximately 71,600 Utahns are unemployed and actively seeking work. The national unemployment rate posted a small drop in February to 7.7 percent. 

The state's nonfarm payroll employment estimate grew by 4.0 percent compared to the employment level for February 2012 — a 12-month increase of 49,200 jobs. Total payroll employment in Utah is estimated to be 1,267,900. 

Jobs continue to be added to the Utah economy at a steadily increasing rate, said Carrie Mayne, chief economist for the state Department of Workforce Services. Labor force participation posted a modest increase of roughly one tenth of a percentage point and the number of employed increased by approximately 5,000 individuals, she noted.

"All of the major labor market indicators in Utah registered increases, and coupled with a rebounding housing market, signals that Utah’s economy is primed for a healthy summer boost," she said.

All industrial sectors added jobs in February when compared to last year except for mining, which was unchanged from one year ago, Mayne said. Notable levels of employment increases were measured in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities sectors.

Government, which as of late has shed jobs, posted a small gain for the month, she said. Growth occurred strictly at the state government level, primarily in education, with university employment for the new semester likely the source, she added. 

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