Economic Snapshot - April 2018
This month’s Economic Snapshots provide an overview of state and national trends highlighting indicators such as employment, demographics, housing, consumer sentiment, and more.
The United States labor market added a fewer-than-expected 103,000 jobs in March. Year-over-year employment growth slowed slightly from 1.6 percent in February to 1.5 percent in March, and the unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Employment gains were broad-based, with the professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors adding the most jobs over the past 12 months. Annual wage growth rose slightly from 2.6 percent in February to 2.7 percent in March. Fourth quarter economic growth was revised upwards from an annual rate of 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent. The strong labor market and economy are reflected in the Consumer Confidence Index, which remained high at 127.7 in March.
Utah’s labor market continued to expand in February. The state’s year-over-year employment growth was tied for second in the nation at 3.2 percent, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.1 percent. Nearly every sector experienced job gains over the past year, with trade, transportation, and utilities; leisure and hospitality; and education and health services adding the most jobs. Along with a strong labor market, Utah has experienced robust population growth. From 2016 to 2017, Wasatch County, Tooele County, and Morgan County were ranked among the top 10 fastest growing counties in the nation. In addition, St. George was ranked the fastest growing metro area, and Provo-Orem the 8th fastest. Along with a strong labor market and robust population growth, Utah’s consumer confidence is booming. In March, the Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index hit its highest level ever recorded of 129.5.
Idaho’s labor market was one of the best in the country in February. The state’s year-over-year employment growth was the highest in the nation at 3.4 percent, and the unemployment rate remained level at 3.0 percent. Employment gains were wide-spread, with the construction, education and health services, and government sectors adding the most jobs over the past 12 months. In addition to a strong labor market, two of Idaho’s metro areas were ranked in the top 10 in the nation for population growth. From 2016 to 2017, Coeur d’Alene metro was the 5th fastest growing in the nation and Boise City was the 7th fastest. The strong labor market and robust population growth have put upward pressure on Idaho’s home prices. According to the CoreLogic Home Price Index, Idaho’s home prices have risen 11.2 percent over the past year.
Wyoming’s labor market is showing some of the fastest growth it has seen in years. In February, the state’s year-over-year employment growth rose to 1.7 percent from 1.3 percent in January. Wyoming added 4,700 jobs over the past year, with the natural resources and mining, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities sectors experiencing the largest gains. The government sector experienced the largest employment loss of 1,100 jobs. The state’s unemployment rate fell from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent, falling below the national average. Home prices in Wyoming rose 1.1 percent from the year before as of February, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index.