Committee says Utah's economy is on the mend

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SALT LAKE CITY -- There's good news on the Utah economy: New numbers indicate an improvement in the job market. Some say that these are the first hints of a recovering economy.

The committee that came out with these figures believes the worst is over. It says here in Utah the improving job market brings the most hope.

Chad Francom says, "The numbers, yes, tell a story, but there's more. I'm leery of them because I've been there."

Francom was unemployed for four months. He just recently found work, but remains cautiously optimistic about the economy.

"Reserved hope is what I'd call it. You know, it's changing, but don't sell the farm right now," he says.

Signs of local economic recovery?
  • Job openings posted with the Utah Department of Workforce Services is double the rate from one year ago; 20,000 versus 10,000.
  • Unemployment claims are down 13 percent compared to a year ago; from an average of 4,150 new claims weekly in January 2009 to 3,600 in January 2010.
  • The number of temporary workers has increased from 14,800 to 17,700 between April and September of 2009.
  • After 38 months of monthly declines, the number of permits issued for new home construction has been positive since June 2009.
-Commerce Real Estate Solutions

The Utah Revenue Assumption Committee has evidence of that change. It says posted job openings are running about double the rate of one year ago: 10,000 in 2009 compared to 20,000 right now.

It's people like Francom who are taking advantage. A couple of months ago, we told you about a job placement program through the LDS Business College. Francom says using that support group helped him land his new job as a database administrator.

"Find a group in your neighborhood or your church and just say, ‘Hey, we gotta help each other get jobs,'" he says.

According to the statistics, not as many people are without work. The committee says January's unemployment claims are down 13 percent compared to a year ago. In 2009 there were about 4,100 new claims weekly, and only 3,600 this year.

The group is forecasting fewer job losses this year as well: 18,000 compared to 61,000 in 2009.

"I think companies are starting to realize that they need to hire people, maybe at a lower rate, but they need people," Francom says.

The need for temporary workers is also up. Experts see that as a willingness by employers to hire more people.


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Nicole Gonzales


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