The Utah Department of Workforce Services announced job growth for the first time in more than two years, according to the Spectrum. January showed an increase of 500 jobs over January of last year.

This is consistent with what we have been seeing in the commercial real estate sector for the past eight months. Activity levels are up. Businesses are looking for opportunities in the current market with expectations of better times ahead.

Industries including manufacturing, retail trade and leisure and hospitality sectors showed growth year over year. Division of Workforce Services economist Lecia Langston predicted growth could potentially reach 4 to 5 percent in 2012.

Job growth will lead to new home construction and higher levels of consumer spending. This will help construction and trade related businesses, which have historically been 25% of our economy, in addition to the businesses in retail centers across the county. These two industries were hit the hardest during the recession.

Over time, Division of Workforce Services Chief Economist Mark Konold projected the region’s unemployment rate, currently at 10.2% will eventually settle to about 4%. He said he sees a “really bright future” for Washington County despite the current unemployment level.

The Spectrum
March 2, 2011
Scott Kerbs