Monday, May 22, 2017

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 June 19th.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Utah's Employment Situation for April 2017

Utah's Employment Situation for April 2017 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 June 16th, 2017.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Census Bureau Tool Provides Labor-Force Insight for Wasatch Front North

Across the United States, jobs are quantified through each state’s unemployment insurance program. Those programs provide the potential for laid-off workers to receive unemployment benefits — the goal being to bridge the gap between workers’ lost jobs and their next jobs. An eligible recipient’s weekly benefit amount is based upon their earnings from recent work. This begs the question, how does Utah’s unemployment insurance program know how much an individual recently earned while working?

That answer is supplied by all businesses that hire workers, as they must report their employees and pay as mandated by the unemployment insurance laws. Companies identify their individual workers and those workers’ monetary earnings for a calendar quarter. As businesses are identified by their industrial activity and geographic location, it is through the unemployment insurance program that aggregate employment counts by industry and location are calculated.

Yet each state’s profiling of individuals is quite minimal in the unemployment insurance program. The U.S. Census Bureau can bring more light to the overall labor force by supplementing said information with gender, age, race/ethnicity and educational attainment (imputed from American Community Survey responses) for Utah’s labor force.

The Census Bureau packages this information through their Local Employment Dynamics program and makes available said data on its website. Here at the Department of Workforce Services, we recently downloaded and packaged Utah-specific data from said website and summarized it in the attached visualization.

Various data “tabs” are available, presenting Utah’s economy from different angles, ranging from industry shares within the economy to the age-group distributions of the labor force, to gender and race distributions. These labor variables can be viewed for the state as a whole, or by each individual county.

Some statewide highlights:

Industry — industrial distribution is quite diverse, which provides strength within the economy. Distributions do fluctuate with time, with manufacturing seeing its share lessen while health care and professional and business services shares have increased.

Age — the bulk of Utah’s labor force is composed of 25- to 44-year-olds. Older worker shares have increased over the past 15 years, yet still remain a non-dominant portion of Utah’s labor force. The youngest segments of the labor force declined noticeably during the Great Recession due to less participation, and that trend remains.

Educational Attainment — turnover rates are understandably highest with workers under the age of 25 as they strive to build their educational foundation and also find their niche in the labor market. A trend does stand out where the more education that a worker attains, the lower the turnover rate businesses experience from said educational classes.

Race/Ethnicity — Whites account for around 80 percent of Utah’s labor force. The Asian community is small but slowly increasing in share, and is also characterized with the lowest turnover rate and the highest new-hire wages.

Gender — males comprise about 55 percent of Utah’s labor force. The female share of 45 percent is higher than the national average. Roughly 35 percent of working females work part-time compared to 15 percent for males. Therefore, female new-hire wages are considerably lower than male new-hire wages. (Note: employer reporting into the unemployment insurance system is not hourly wage rate reporting but instead total calendar quarter wages paid. Therefore, calculations can only be made upon total quarterly wages, and part-time employment weakens this measure).

As for the various counties in the Wasatch Front North region, here are some labor highlights:

Davis County –
Retail/wholesale trade industries dominate in Davis County with more than 16 percent of employment. This share has been in decline, however, since the end of the recession – not due to a decline in these industries, rather, due to increased growth in professional and business services, which includes management/scientific/technical consulting services. Alone, this sector has added more than 1,000 jobs over the last 10 years.

In just the last two years, construction and manufacturing have both begun to regain some of the share of employment lost after the recession. Non-residential building construction in particular has added about 500 new jobs since 2013.

Weber County –
Perhaps surprisingly, Weber County has an even larger share of employment in retail/wholesale trade than Davis County – nearly 17 percent compared to 16 percent, but that is primarily due to the wholesale portion of that sector which has a large grocery and related product merchant wholesaler employer in the Ogden area.

Manufacturing and professional/business services both compose large shares of Weber County employment, about 14 percent and 15 percent respectively. However, the health care/social services sector has been increasing its share over the last 15 years more than any other sector. In 2000, the sector’s share was about 9 percent and now it’s nearly 13 percent – a major shift. In particular, over that time, the general medical and surgical hospitals industry has added more than 2,000 new jobs, primarily driven by the new McKay-Dee Hospital facilities and service expansions in Ogden in the early 2000s.

Morgan County –
In Morgan County, the largest share of employment is in the retail/wholesale trade sector as well, at about 20 percent. Like Weber County, this is largely due to the wholesale industry since Browning, the largest employer in the county, is classified as a wholesaler.

Construction is the next largest sector, although it has been trending toward a smaller share since the end of the recession. The number of employed in construction has not changed much in the last 15 years, averaging between 300 and 350 workers, but the health care/social assistance sector has been growing quickly – from about 25 jobs in 2000 to more than 170 in 2016, thus edging out construction’s share of the pie. Residential care facilities and ambulatory health service have been driving that growth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Better, Faster, Smarter... Check out our new website design!

Go to: JOBS.UTAH.GOV/WI to check it out

Information is the treasure of the current age. The instant access to information since the advent of the Internet has transformed societies in ways that thousands of years prior had not. Information can lead to knowledge, and — with increased knowledge — better efficiencies and way of life. If information is vital, then the presentation of information has also risen to a prominent level. With this, the Utah Department of Workforce Services has made some organizational improvements to its economic webpages. Various economic data categories are not mutually exclusive, but we made an effort to compartmentalize economic data for a better organizational display and navigation. We also added a new feature area that taps into various national data elements and measurements from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), the database of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. FRED’s added value is national — and Utah — economic indicators. More on FRED’s contribution below.

Depending on the subject, economic data can be categorized as either broad or specific. For example, the demographic makeup of an area and how that impacts an economic structure is a broad-subject approach. Conversely, a current monthly snapshot of the Utah economy, its job growth and unemployment rate is a more specific observation. Our economic webpage has four “portals” through which to “categorize” and search for information. One portal is broad, while the other three are more specific in nature.

Topic Portals

The monthly employment profile just mentioned is a specific topic and gets its own “portal,” entitled Employment Update. Here, the most current Utah economic performance can be explored and summarized. The information found here is what often gets cited in the local news media in reference to the current Utah job performance and unemployment rate.

The second specific “portal” is labeled Local Insights. This is a quarterly profile of the Utah economy down to a county level. Each county is summarized with its own economic performance, including job growth, unemployment rate, housing starts, taxable sales and other profile variables. The common theme here is a county-specific approach.

The third specific “portal” is Reports and Analysis. Workforce Services’ economic forte is the labor market. Things over and above the everyday reporting on the labor market are presented here. Sometimes we do special economic studies, other times we will report on specific economic groups within the labor force, like women or veterans. Anything we do that is not an often repeated or ongoing report are grouped here.

The final “portal,” and possibly the one that will be most used, is labeled Economic Data. The core of our data collection and analysis is concentrated here. Employment data, occupational data, wage information and demographic profiles are just some of the major economic themes found in this area.

FRED's on site

As mentioned earlier, we have added an economic indicator area tapping into FRED, which is a massive compilation of economic data from various sources — primarily government statistical agencies, but also some nongovernmental organizations. Workforce Services economists have gone through the list and selected a handful of the most useful data series for gauging the performance of Utah’s macro economy and gaining insights into expected trends. Utah functions within the national economy, so the national economic indicators profiled here are intended to also be guiding influences on the Utah economy. These indicators include composite indexes; a recession probability indicator; leading indicators, such as construction permits and the yield curve; coincident indicators, such as real GDP and employment; and price indicators, such as the consumer price index, regional housing prices, and oil and gas prices. Each chart has a detailed description of what the data represent and how they may be useful.

Keeping relevant with the fast-changing pace of the Internet and data presentation is our goal at Workforce Services. We hope these changes help to better present our broad package of economic data offerings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Show Me the Economy - Occupational Projections for Utah's Wasatch Front North

The biennial update to Utah's occupational projections have been released and can be found here:  But first. check out these highlights:


Ogden-Clearfield MSA
Matt Schroeder, Regional Economist

The following are some general highlights gleaned from the Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) occupational projections:

The projected occupational growth rate in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA (which includes Box Elder, Davis, Morgan and Weber counties) is similar to the rest of the state on average at 2.6 percent annually through 2024. Utah statewide projected growth is 2.7 percent. The 12,120 projected annual openings in Ogden-Clearfield MSA from 2014 to 2024 represent about 17 percent of all projected openings in the state.

The occupations with the highest growth expectations are, on average, those that require the most education. Jobs that typically require a doctoral or professional degree are projected to grow 3.4 percent annually through 2024. Growth in openings for postsecondary teachers of business, criminal justice and health specialties are the primary drivers of this trend.

Occupational expectations in construction and production (i.e., manufacturing) are noteworthy in the Ogden-Clearfield region as well. Both of these categories are already supplying large numbers of annual openings and are still expected to grow at more than 3 percent every year. Jobs in these areas typically don’t require as much education but offer relatively good wages. Electricians, for instance, have a strong demand outlook. They typically require an apprenticeship but no college education, and they earn a median wage in the region of nearly $48K per year. Machinists, similarly, are expected to have plenty of job opportunities through 2024, while requiring only some college or long-term on-the-job training. In the Ogden-Clearfield region, they earn a median wage of $52K per year.

Jobs in engineering and information technology (IT) are also expected to continue growing at more than 3 percent annually over the next eight years; and, together, are projected to produce nearly 600 openings per year in the region. Jobs in engineering and IT tend to offer high wages for the level of education required. Mechanical engineers, for instance, are in high demand (about 70 openings per year in Ogden-Clearfield). They typically require a bachelor’s degree and earn median wages of $81K per year. Another example is applications software developers who make median wages of $74K per year and have job opportunities projected to grow at 3.5 percent annually (about 40 annual openings in Ogden-Clearfield).

There are many other occupations in the region that are projected to offer excellent opportunities as well — industrial machinery mechanics, dental hygienists, industrial engineers, electronics engineers and computer systems analysts to name just a few. You can learn more about these occupations and others through the Utah Occupational Explorer where you can explore and compare occupations of interest in detail by region, wage level, typical education required, projected growth and demand. Before digging into the details though, take a look at the interactive data visualization above to see the big picture of the occupational outlook for the Ogden-Clearfield MSA.

About Utah's Occupational Projections
Mark Knold, Supervising Economist

“The government knows everything about everyone.”

Fortunately, that statement is not true. Yet society still looks to the government to provide answers to comprehensive and complex questions that have their foundation within individual decisions and activities. One subject frequently directed toward the government is individual-level information about the economy — particularly, what occupations are in demand, what occupations pay well and have lucrative outlooks, and ultimately, what occupation(s) should I build my career upon?

It takes the accumulation of a wide array of individual information to answer these questions. Employers provide the foundation information about the occupations they employ. Jobs are held by individuals, but employers provide the profile information about the job itself, not any particular individual.

Since society desires to profile such a broad spectrum of the economy — occupational profiles and the occupational distribution within the economy — only government is in the unique position to collect, analyze and provide answers for said desire. Yet, no government program or regulatory agency mandates any comprehensive occupational reporting from individuals or businesses. Therefore, government attempts to fill the void with an ongoing, robust and voluntary survey of employers — a survey where employers are asked to provide details about their various occupations, including descriptions, quantities, wages/salaries and location. Through this survey emerges an occupational portrait of an economy.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) structures and funds the survey, yet the individual states conduct the survey. Under BLS administration, all states use the same methodology; therefore, occupational profiles are comparable across states.

Through this survey, analysts discover how industries are populated with various occupations. Accountant is an occupation, yet accountants can be found across many different industries. Other occupations may be more exclusive to certain industries; for example, doctors are largely found only in the healthcare industry. One of the survey’s products is that industries can be profiled with their general mix of occupations. This is called an industry’s occupational staffing pattern.

This brings us back to the original questions: what occupations are in demand, what occupations pay well and have lucrative outlooks, and ultimately, what occupation(s) should I build my career upon?

The foundation is to make informed forecasts about how industries will expand/contract over the next 10 years. By applying existing occupational staffing patterns to each industry’s projected change, a trained economic analyst can then make an extrapolation about how occupations will correspondingly increase/decrease. Knowledgeable analyst judgment further refines the occupational expectations, such as knowing an occupation will grow faster than in the past, with the result being a set of occupational projections that accumulate to profile a state or regional economy.

A new set of occupational projections are done every two years to keep the information fresh even though economies do not change dramatically in short order. Because of slow change, updated occupational projects generally continue the overall message of preceding occupational projections. But economies do modify with time, and therefore, subtle changes will arise with each new set of occupational projections.

Utah’s most recent occupational projections are found here: These projections look forward to the year 2024.

The occupational profile is structured from the general to the detailed, mimicking the structure of a family tree. First, broad occupational categories are defined, such as management or healthcare occupations; then, subcategories are defined; and finally, individual occupations are defined. Individual occupations are the heart of the occupational projections. But overall patterns and characteristics do emerge when observing the broader categories.

While a Utah statewide profile leads the way, Utah’s local economies are not homogenous; therefore, nine Utah subregions are also profiled. Due to confidentiality restraints and statistical reliability, the amount of occupations available will diminish the smaller a subregion; but, occupations comprising the backbone of a regional economy will be available.

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: