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Utah unemployment rate jumps to 9.7% for April

By Jasen Lee, KSL | Posted - May 22, 2020 at 1:44 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The first jobless numbers depicting the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the Utah economy are out, and as expected the impact has been dramatic.

The state Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that April’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate soared to an estimated 9.7%, indicating that approximately 155,800 Utahns were left jobless during the month as a result of the mandated shutdown of hundreds of local businesses.

Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7%.

The state’s nonfarm payroll employment for April 2020 shrunk by an estimated 7.1%, putting 110,900 more workers on the sidelines compared to April 2019 employment. The report stated that most job cuts were furloughs and considered temporary in nature.

Utah’s current employment level shows 1,445,900 as gainfully employed.

“The April survey offers Utah its first measured glimpse into the coronavirus’ economic impact. Utah’s strong economy preceding this pandemic offered more cushion against disruption than seen across the rest of the country, thus Utah’s more moderate setback,” said Department of Workforce Services chief economist Mark Knold.

“The current situation differs from other national downturns in that this is disaster-related and many separated workers are anticipating a return to work when circumstances allow. Other downturns generally feature permanent job separations.”

Private sector employment in the Beehive State shrunk 8.1% year over year, with 105,500 jobs lost. Just two of the 10 private-sector major industry groups measured in the establishment survey posted net job gains in the month of April, with construction adding 3,400 jobs and the information sector adding 500 new positions.

However, eight other industry groups posted employment major reductions, with the most impact in leisure and hospitality services, which lost 66,700 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities cutting 15,400 jobs; along with education and health services losing 8,800 positions.

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