By Matt Schroeder
Morgan County continued robust economic expansion in early 2015. Employment grew at a faster rate than any other county in northern Utah. Taxable sales were up 15 percent. Unemployment remains among the lowest in the state and initial unemployment insurance claims are back to pre-recession levels. Wage growth, although not great, is outpacing the rest of the state. Overall, the indicators are reaffirming that the long term trajectory of economic performance for the county is positive.
- Morgan County continued robust job growth posting 5.8 percent year-over growth and adding 108 jobs in March 2015.
- The high rate of employment growth was driven by the leisure and hospitality industry which increased 35 percent adding 44 new jobs in Morgan County over the year since Q1 2014.
- Other services, which includes auto care and maintenance, appliance repair, and grantmaking organizations among others, was also a significant contributor, adding 28 new employees year-over.
- The unemployment rate remained below the state average in June 2015 at 3.2 percent. New entrants into the labor market have recently caused a slight uptick in unemployment but at rates this low, this is actually a positive sign.
- Initial unemployment claims in Morgan County were down to 1 per week on average in May 2015.
- Morgan County wage growth slowed slightly to 2.8 percent year-over in Q1 2015 after growing 3.6 percent in Q4 2014, but it is still outpacing statewide wage growth of 1.8 percent. At $3,191 per month the average monthly wage is not far behind the state average of $3,590.
- Wholesale trade, which employs about 8 percent of the workers in Morgan County, saw average wage growth of 22 percent, and the professional and business services sector which employs about 6 percent, experienced an 18 percent average wage increase over Q1 2014.
- Residential construction activity slowed a bit as of May 2015 with a 46 percent YTD decrease, but the value of permitted nonresidential construction was up 99 percent compared to the same time-frame in 2014.
- Taxable sales in Morgan County were up 15.1 percent year-over in Q1 2015 reaching $23.8 million, after sales of $20.7 million in Q1 2014.
- Retail motor vehicle sales was the largest contributor growing from $5.5 million in Q1 2014 to $7.0 million in Q1 2015.