Jobless rate at 3.6 percent, nonfarm employment up 4.5 percent in Utah

Jobless rate at 3.6 percent, nonfarm employment up 4.5 percent in Utah

(Aaron Thorup/Utah Department of Workforce Services)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Employers in the Beehive State are finding more qualified candidates in the Utah job pool, and the trend is expected to continue, local analysts predict.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that Utah's nonfarm payroll employment for July 2015 grew by an estimated 4.5 percent, adding 59,100 jobs to the economy compared with July 2014. But one analyst said he was surprised that the number of new jobs wasn't even higher.

Damian Garcia, regional vice president for employment firm Robert Half International in Salt Lake City, said the company reported a record number of candidates who received job offers in July from firms seeking to fill professional-level positions.

"Candidates looking for work that were either employed or unemployed had multiple solid offers from companies," he said. "There is a war on talent right now."

Garcia said the professional and business services, technology and health care industries are all in a growth trend, making candidates with those skill sets very desirable to prospective employers. Other industries are adding workers as well, which bodes well for candidates in a variety of job sectors, he added.

"Clients are looking to staff up in all departments," Garcia said. "It's a true indicator that there is confidence again (economically) when you're willing to commit to nonrevenue generating roles (to) that degree."

Companies are projecting that the current growth trend will likely continue for some time, he said.

"Whether it's a new contract or a new relationship that they have just brought on to their organization, the end result is more people working," Garcia said.

He also noted that employers will probably have to act fast to hire the best candidates due to the high level of competition that currently exists in the job market.

"(Companies have) got to move quickly, and you've got to make the package look attractive," Garcia said. "You have got to pay a little more now and offer more work-life balance — things that for job seekers nowadays are much more important to them than before."

Candidates looking for work that were either employed or unemployed had multiple solid offers from companies. There is a war on talent right now.

–Damian Garcia, Robert Half International

The department's report showed that the state's current employment level registered at nearly 1.4 million while July's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percent from last month to 3.6 percent.

About 53,000 Utahns were unemployed in the month and actively seeking work, the report stated. Nationally, the July jobless rate remained unchanged from June at 5.3 percent.

"The summer hiring season is ending on a high note," reported Carrie Mayne, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services. "With such a strong job growth rate, any small uptick in the unemployment rate is likely a reflection of churn as workers move through the labor market seeking new and better employment opportunities."

Mayne said sustained job growth coupled with low unemployment has helped the state continue its upward job creation trend.

"We have enjoyed job growth in the 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent range with unemployment below 4 percent for quite some time now," she said. "Market dynamics would tell us that as the unemployment rate falls, fewer workers are available to fill positions. Therefore, at some point, you expect to see a slowing in the job growth. We just aren't experiencing that yet."

The report noted that nine of the 10 private sector industry groups measured in the survey posted net job increases in July over the same period last year. The largest private sector employment increases were in leisure and hospitality, which added 13,700 jobs. Professional and business services added 11,700 positions, while education and health services expanded by 9,600 new jobs.

The fastest job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 10.5 percent, and professional and business services, up 6.3 percent, along with education and health services climbing 5.7 percent.


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