The job market in Utah was already one of the lowest in the nation at 4.2% in September, and now, incredibly, it’s even lower at 2.5%. Mark Knold, senior economist for Utah Workforce Services, says “Ultimate ‘full employment’ would be everyone working, but that never really happens. This is as close as you get.”
The Utah job market grew by 5%, three times the national average, in October and with thousands of jobs being created over the next couple years, many employers are fearful about finding workers to fill the need.”This is a huge issue for us,” says Fred Lampropoulos, founder and CEO of Merit Medical Systems Inc. “In fact, the single most pressing issue in our business is to retain and attract talent. We’re looking for another 50 to 100 [people] and I tell you, it’s tough.”
The construction industry has added 14,800 jobs during the last 12 months and that growth is expected to remain steady as works ramps up on the new $1Billion redevelopment of downtown Salt Lake City. “Right now, we’re in pretty good shape,” acknowledges Randy Price, human resources director for Big-D Construction, “but as work and jobs come and go, we are going to need more talent.”
Jeff Thredgold, a consultant to Zions Bank, says that the state’s labor pool probably won’t be filling any time soon. “The biggest challenge in the region is where to find people to hire.” Jobs are being created faster than people are moving into the state to fill them.
In October there were only 33,000 adult Utahns officially unemployed. Nationally the unemployment rate is at 4.4 percent.