Utah’s unemployment rate spikes to 9.7 percent

20200526 Utah Jobs Report

Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for April 2020 contracted by an estimated 7.1%, sidelining 110,900 jobs compared to the April 2019 employment. Most job reductions are furloughs and considered temporary in nature. Utah’s current employment level registers 1,445,900. March’s year-over job growth is revised down one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.5%. 

April’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate is estimated at 9.7%. Approximately 155,800 Utahns were unemployed during April. The national unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. 

“The April survey offers Utah its first measured glimpse into the coronavirus’ economic impact,” reported Mark Knold, Chief Economist at the Department of Workforce Services. “Utah’s strong economy preceding this pandemic offered more cushion against disruption than seen across the rest of the country, thus Utah’s more moderate setback. The current situation differs from other national downturns in that this is disaster-related and many separated workers are anticipating a return to work when circumstances allow. Other downturns generally feature permanent job separations.” 

Utah’s private sector employment contracted year-over by 8.1% with the reduction of 105,500 positions. Two of the 10 private-sector major industry groups measured in the establishment survey posted net job gains in April, these being Construction (3,400 jobs); and Information (500 jobs). The other eight industry groups posted employment declines. These were most impactful in Leisure and Hospitality Services (-66,700 jobs); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-15,400 jobs); and Education and Health Services (-8,800).