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Utah’s September unemployment rate rises yet signals signs of recovery, official says

By Colby Walker, KSL NewsRadio | Posted - Oct. 16, 2020 at 9:48 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Workforce Services reports that while the state's unemployment rate may have gone up, the state is seeing good signs of recovery.

During the month of September, the department said approximately 82,800 Utahns were unemployed. That number brought the statewide seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate to 5%, up from August's 4.1%.

Spokesman Nate McDonald said the reason behind this latest increase is "not necessarily for a bad reason."

"What we saw in the numbers is that Utah's labor participation rate actually jumped up a percentage point," McDonald told Utah's Morning News on KSL NewsRadio.

"What that means is that more people entered into our labor force, meaning that they were actively seeking work, which is a positive sign. That means they are having more confidence in the economy and there's more opportunities out there for them."

McDonald said that seeing a jump in the labor participation rate could account for the increase in the unemployment rate because those actively seeking jobs are being counted when previously they were not.

Photo: Utah Department of Workforce Services

He said that in comparison, the national labor participation rate is dropping while Utah's is increasing.

In the September report, the department also saw net increases in four of 10 job sectors: construction, trade, transportation and utilities, other services, and financial Activities all saw net increases.

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