The latest Utah Unemployment Rate was released hitting a historic low of 1.9%, surpassing the last historic low of 2.1%. That is a never-before-seen rate in Utah and the United States as a whole. The U.S. unemployment rate stands at 3.9%.
Yet, this low also signals the underlying concern for businesses who are unable to find enough talent to fill their open positions.
According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the low unemployment rate is happening at the same time the labor force participation rate is increasing, which is nearly back to the pre-pandemic level. This means people are returning to the labor force because the Utah Job market ‘is for real.’
During the past two years, Utah has seen its employment base expand by 59,200 positions, but according to Workforce Services, since 2020 was a wash due to the pandemic, those positions were mostly all filled in 2021, which is a 3.7% employment increase for Utah.
“Utah’s labor force participation rate is at 68.2%,” according to Workforce Services. “Before the pandemic it was 68.5%. Not a dramatic difference, but there is roughly 9,000 fewer potential labor participants engaged now than before the pandemic. That is a vast improvement from a year ago, when the number not engaged was more like 33,000.”
What this all means is that Utah’s economy is strong and there is very little to suggest that will change anytime soon.
One of the Chamber’s pillars is Workforce Development. In the past, that often meant creating an environment to attract new talent and increase the number of available jobs. Today, development will mostly focus on developing the talent and human capital needed to fulfil all the jobs currently available, but hard to fill.
This is an active conversation that will continue throughout the year and one in which the Chamber will take an active role in with business, our communities, and with the state Legislature.