Economic Snapshot - September 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 expanded in August, adding a better-than-expected 201,000 jobs. The employment gain marked the 95th consecutive month of job creation in the U.S. Hiring was broad-based, with the natural resources and mining, construction, and professional and business services sectors experiencing the largest employment growth over the past year. The unemployment rate remained well-below historical averages at 3.9 percent. Annual wage growth, which has been stagnant for much of the recovery, jumped from 2.7 percent in July to 2.9 percent in August. Economic growth for the second-quarter of this year was revised upwards from 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent. Much of the positive labor market and economic data is reflected in the Consumer Confidence Index, which rose to 133.4 in August, marking the highest level since October 2000.
The labor market in Utah continued to grow in July. The state’s year-over-year employment growth was the highest in the nation for the third month in a row, growing 3.5 percent since last year. Utah added 57,100 jobs since last July, with the trade, transportation, and utilities; leisure and hospitality; and education and health services sectors experiencing the largest percentage gains. Only the natural resources and mining sector experienced declines in employment. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.1 percent. Inflation in Utah continues to outpace national averages, with the Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index increasing 5.4 percent over the last year versus 2.9 percent nationwide. The Utah Consumer Attitude Index grew as well to 114.9 in August; up from 113.6 in July.
The Idaho labor market continued growing in July. The state’s year-over-year employment growth increased from 3.0 percent in June to 3.4 percent in July - the 2nd highest rate in the nation. Idaho added 24,300 jobs over the past year, with the construction, manufacturing, and professional and business services sectors experiencing the largest percentage gains. For the second time in three months, no sector experienced job losses. The unemployment rate remained level at 2.9 percent. The home market continued to heat up, with prices rising 11.4 percent year over year.
Wyoming’s labor market expanded once again in July. The state’s year-over-year employment growth improved from 1.8 percent in June to 2.0 percent in July; the state has now experienced 11 consecutive months of annual job creation. Wyoming added 5,500 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services, natural resources and mining, and construction sectors experiencing the largest percentage gains. Only the government sector had a decline in employment. The unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent. While growth in Wyoming’s home prices continue to lag the nation, annual home price growth rose across the state from 2.2 percent in May to 3.3 percent in June.