Monday, November 24, 2014

Duchesne County Economic Indicators

The Uintah Basin region felt the effects of the downturn starting in 2009, when the labor market shed 2,626 jobs from the previous year. Overall, 2010 also brought job losses, though by the end of the year Uintah and Duchene counties began adding jobs at a substantial rate. The tide really turned during the next two years when the region added over 3,300 payroll jobs. Year-over growth rates were 7.5 percent and 7.8 percent in 2011 and 2012, respectively. In 2013 however, the Uintah Basin lost momentum, and employment contracted slightly. So far, this year appears to be a reversal of last year’s trend with second quarter employment growth outpacing the state average.
  • Duchesne County’s payroll job growth in second quarter 2014 accelerated to an annual rate of 5.6 percent, the third fastest year-over job growth in the state and 2.8 percentage points faster than the Utah average. In total, the region added 518 jobs from second quarter 2013. Mining firms had notable gains of approximately 15 percent. The mining industry includes all oil and gas activities, making growth in this industry particularly important to the county.
  • The county seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.8 percent in September, well below the state average. Such low levels of unemployment are not unheard of in Duchesne County, but the relatively low rate suggests that the job market is getting considerably more competitive.
  • As the Duchesne labor market picked up steam in the second quarter of 2014, so too did average wages. Year-over average monthly wages grew 6.7 percent, exactly 5 percentage point faster than the Utah rate. As the labor market gets tighter, there should be upward movement in employee compensation, especially when a large portion of the additional jobs are in high-paying industries like mining. 
  • Taxable sales in Duchesne stayed relatively unchanged between the second quarters of 2013 and 2014, falling 0.2 percent during the year. Business investment purchases in manufacturing increased by just over $8.1 million (62.1 percent) from second quarter 2013, the largest annual increase in the county. But, these gains were offset by year-over business investment declines in mining, utilities and wholesale trade totaling $9 million.
  • Year-over home sales climbed 27.5 percent in the third quarter of this year according to the Utah Association of Realtors. In total, 65 homes sold in Duchesne County in third quarter at a median price of $181,950 (down 4.2 percent from 2013). Though the housing market has come a long way since 2009, sales across the state were flat in between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014.