By Matt Schroeder
Davis County ended 2014 with healthy labor market expansion and indications of demand-side improvement. Wages, which have been slow to keep up with the rest of the recovering labor market, finally turned a corner. Taxable sales were up almost 7 percent with particular strength in motor vehicles thanks in part to falling oil prices. Unemployment continues to fall and initial unemployment insurance claims are near pre-recession levels. Employment growth was consistent and relatively broad based. Overall, the roots of recovery appear to be firmly set in the region and Davis County’s economic performance at the end of 2014 leaves continued-optimism for 2015 as the rational expectation.
- Davis County added 3,734 new jobs at a year-over rate of 3.3 percent in Q4 2014, contributing nearly 10 percent of 38 thousand new jobs created in Utah since Q4 2013.
- Job growth was broad based across most industries in Q4 2014 for Davis County. The construction and manufacturing industries were notable, generating 873 and 614 new jobs, respectively. Construction, in particular, showed impressive growth of more than 11 percent and contributed 23 percent of the total job gains for the county despite accounting for only 7 percent of total employment.
- Davis County’s unemployment rate remained low at 3.2 percent in March 2015. This is 0.5 percentage points below the March 2014 rate and slightly below the state average of 3.4 percent.
- Initial claims for unemployment insurance averaged fewer than 110 per week as of the first week of April 2015 in Davis County. The levels are continuing to approach pre-recession levels which in 2007 were about 95 per week at the same time of year.
- Davis County wages picked up to 5.5 percent year-over growth in Q4 2014 outpacing the statewide increase of 4.3 percent and nearly hitting the $3,500 per month mark. Since the recession, wages have been slower to recover than other aspects of the labor market, so the upturn is welcome news. Davis County wage growth is broad-based as well with 7 out of 11 major industry sectors posting year-over growth of 5 percent or higher.
- Taxable sales in Davis County grew 6.9 percent year-over in Q4 2014, reaching more than $1.2 billion. The retail motor vehicles industry was the largest contributor to growth with more than $10.7 million in additional taxable sales compared to Q4 2013. The mining/quarrying/oil and gas extraction industry was also a notable contributor, increasing sales by $8.1 million the year-over.
- Residential construction activity slowed to 1,643 permitted units in 2014, a decrease of 6 percent (down almost 20 percent in terms of value). Nonresidential construction permits, however, had total value up 65 percent over 2013.