Monday, August 3, 2015

Weber County Economic Update

Weber County Starts 2015 With a Bang

By Matt Schroeder 

Weber County employment is growing at a rate not seen in more than 10 years and is very wide-spread across all industries. Taxable sales were up more than 6 percent with particular strength in retail markets suggesting that consumer confidence continues to build. Unemployment remains low and initial unemployment insurance claims are back to pre-recession levels. Overall, the indicators are reaffirming that the long term trajectory of economic performance for the county is very positive.

Weber County
  • Weber County employment growth has been taking off in the first part of 2015 picking up to 4.1 percent year-over growth in March adding 3,923 new jobs.
  • This is the first time in more than 10 years that Weber County has broken 4 percent job growth. 
  • Job growth in Weber County was widespread with 10 out of 11 industry sectors experiencing positive growth in March 2015.
  • Growth in construction was particularly noteworthy at 10.7 percent, adding about 14 percent of the new jobs to the county despite representing only about 5 percent of the county's total employment.
  • Weber County unemployment remained at 3.9 percent in June 2015. The rate has not been this low since June 2008, and has fallen 0.5 percentage points since June 2014, but still remains slightly above the state unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.
  • Initial unemployment claims in Weber County averaged around 180 per week as of mid-July 2015. This represents a full return to pre-recession levels.
  • Weber County wage growth turned down just slightly to -0.3 percent year-over Q1 2015. The average monthly wage level came in at $3,086.
  • Wage change was varied across industries with 4 of 11 major sectors experiencing average wage contraction, but a 4.4 percent decrease in wages for health care and social services was probably the primary contributor to the overall decline.
  • Construction activity slowed a bit through May 2015 with YTD residential permits falling by about 58 percent. This may just be a return to more typical growth after a boom in apartment unit permits last year.  The value of permitted nonresidential construction has also slowed in comparison to the same time-frame in 2014 by about 42 percent.
  • Taxable sales in Weber County for Q1 2015 reached $918 million, an increase of 6.1 percent over Q1 2014.
  • Retail food/beverage stores and retail motor vehicle dealers were the largest contributors, adding $7.2 million and $6.5 million, respectively.