Monday, September 19, 2016

Utah's Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for all Utah counties have been posted online here.

Each month, these rates are posted the Monday following the Unemployment Rate Update for Utah.

For more information about seasonally adjusted rates, read a DWS analysis here.

Next update scheduled for October 24th.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for August 2016

Utah's Employment Situation for August 2016 has been released on the web.

Find the Current Economic Situation in its entirety here.

For charts and tables, including County Employment, go to the Employment and Unemployment page.

Next update scheduled for October 21st, 2016.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Infrastructure Labor Market - Ogden-Clearfield MSA

Matt Schroeder, Regional Economist

The labor force is made up of people. People vary in every conceivable way. One person is artistic while another can only draw stick people. One person might be able to disassemble and reassemble a car engine while another might not know what an alternator is. We are different. We have different aptitudes and abilities.

Parallel to this variability, jobs are different. High levels of education do make it possible to work in high-skill occupations that return high incomes. But not everyone is cut out for higher education or has the means to obtain higher education. Therefore, they might end up in “lesser” or “unimportant” jobs.

But is that accurate? Are their job options inferior and unimportant? A recent Brookings Institution report brings to light a segment of the economy that is highly important yet is dependent upon the labor force that may not be built for, have the economic means, or desire to attain a college degree or higher.

Brookings identifies a niche they call the infrastructure economy. As Brookings notes, “Infrastructure helps facilitate the exchange of information, drive production, and deliver resources, spanning multiple sectors of the economy and serving as a foundation to long-term growth.” It goes further to note that “Infrastructure jobs depend on a steady stream of talent to construct, operate, design, and govern the country’s major physical assets.” (article continues below)

**Filter the viz below to see information on the infrastructure jobs in your area**

Brookings documents why these infrastructure jobs can appeal to the individual. “Infrastructure occupations also boast competitive wages with relatively low barriers to entry, frequently paying up to 30 percent more to workers with a high school diploma or less compared to those in all other occupations. Plumbers, truck mechanics, and power line installers are among the numerous infrastructure occupations that fall into this category, which tend to emphasize on-the-job training rather than higher levels of formal education.”

Brookings identified 95 occupations that support the infrastructure foundation. Their work was well founded and designed. This intrigued us to develop a profile of said infrastructure configuration for the Utah economy. We could not replicate the Brookings work in terms of finalizing upon infrastructure industries, but we could place our focus instead upon all infrastructure occupations.

Infrastructure occupations do not have to be found in only infrastructure industries. A helicopter pilot, an infrastructure occupation, may fly a medical helicopter for a hospital, even though said hospital is not categorized as an infrastructure industry.

What is important is that there are occupations that Brookings has identified as key occupations that help to keep the economy operating, growing, designed, and governed. And a practical appeal is that many of these jobs offer low barriers to entry while supplying competitive wages.

Across the nation, these occupations number 11.9 million, or 8.8 percent of all occupational employment. In Utah, these jobs number around 121,400, also 8.8 percent of all occupational employment. Again, the appeal of these jobs is not just that they fundamentally support so many other jobs and industries in the economy, but that these jobs don’t require a high level of education or formalized training for entry. Oftentimes these occupations emphasize only on-the-job training. Yet, these jobs pay on average 22 percent higher in Utah than other occupations that are willing to accept only a high school diploma or less.

Utah does have its unique structuring across its different geographic regions, and this will include the possibility of a different profile of the Infrastructure economy in each local region. The following is an Infrastructure profile for the Ogden-Clearfield region.

Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) 

Infrastructure occupations in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA, (which includes Davis, Morgan, Weber and Box Elder counties), comprise 8.7 percent of total employment. In particular, the area is a warehousing and distribution hub, so there are high levels of related occupations such as truck drivers, freight movers, and package handlers.

In addition to distribution activity, there are many infrastructure jobs surrounding Hill Air Force Base and corresponding aerospace industry. Avionics technicians and logisticians, for example, are concentrated in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA at a rate more than 5 times that of the U.S. average. Control/valve installers and aircraft mechanics/service technicians are also highly concentrated here– both nearly 4 times that of the U.S. average.

The oil refineries in Davis County also contribute a significant number of infrastructure jobs. Gas compressor/gas pumping station operators and petroleum pump system operators/refinery operators/gaugers are employed in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA at a concentration nearly 3 times that of the U.S. average.

These infrastructure jobs compose the backbone of the local economy and provide the very structure and support upon which a community can grow and thrive. As such, it’s appropriate that these individuals tend to be paid higher wages. Compared to other individuals with similar levels of education, infrastructure workers in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA make about 23 percent more on average ($18.24 per hour versus $14.89 per hour).

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Your area’s labor market information is “OnTheMap”

The Census Bureau’s online mapping tool provides a wealth of location-specific labor market information

“If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.” Ashleigh Brilliant

This isn’t your same old blog post about data. Instead of analyzing and sharing data, this post covers how to access an extremely useful “big data” labor market information tool. What is this tool? The U.S. Census Bureau’s OnTheMap web-based mapping and reporting application.  

What’s so great about OnTheMap? Typically, we report labor market information at the state and county level. Local-level data is harder to come by. Along with the ability to provide labor market profiles of small and large nonstandard areas, OnTheMap graphically demonstrates where people work and where workers live. Users can define their own geographies and obtain data and maps at the census-block level of detail. This flexibility can quickly provide information for emergency and transportation planning, site location and economic development. 
  • Do you want to understand commuting patterns for a particular area? OnTheMap can generate maps of outflow and inflow. 
  • Do you want to know the basic characteristics of workers in your town? OnTheMap has that information. 
  • Do you want to identify the employment characteristics along a specific stretch of highway? OnTheMap can deliver that data. 
  • Do you want to discern how many workers live within a 50-mile radius of a particular site? OnTheMap delivers.
Where does this data come from? OnTheMap combines federal and state administrative data on workers and employees with Census Bureau census and survey data. Don’t worry. Using state-of-the-art methods, the Census Bureau is committed to protecting the confidentiality of business and personal information. 

Where People Work     

Let’s run through a few examples of how OnTheMap outputs can help you understand your local economy. Suppose the Kaysville City Council wants to know where the residents of their town work. OnTheMap indicates almost a quarter of the city’s working residents are employed in Salt Lake City. 

Next, the mayor wants to know how many workers travel into Kaysville for employment. OnTheMap suggests that far fewer workers commute in than out of Kaysville. In-commuters are most likely to drive from Layton.


Labor Market Characteristics

Now, these local government officials have decided they would like to know the characteristics of those folks that work or live in Kaysville. OnTheMap can provide age-group, earnings, industry, race/ethnicity, gender and educational attainment information. For example, OnTheMap shows the following characteristics for working residents of Kaysville:
  •  One-fourth are 29 years or younger
  •  48 percent make more than $3,333 a month
  •  8 percent work in manufacturing
  •  382 are Hispanic or Latino
  •  26 percent have at least a Bachelor’s degree
  • 43 percent are female
Getting Specific

A company thinking of locating to Kaysville is interested in the number (and characteristics) of workers within a standard commuting distance of a particular worksite. Economic development professionals can specify a particular radius and obtain a report. Other shapes (donut and plume) are also available. In addition, users can draw their own polygons in OnTheMap. To determine how many workers may be inconvenienced by a road construction project, just draw a line along the length of the project and “buffer” the selection.

You begin to see what a valuable informational tool OnTheMap can be for planning and economic development purposes. 

OnTheMap is available here: