Economic Snapshot - December 2019
The United States labor market showed no signs of slowing down in November, adding 266,000 jobs.
The United States labor market showed no signs of slowing down in November, adding 266,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also looked strong, dropping to 3.5 percent; a tie for the lowest recorded number in 50 years. Employment growth strengthened, increasing to 1.5 percent. The labor force participation rate decreased in November, slipping to 63.2 percent. Annual wage growth continued at a steady rate, growing 3.1 percent year-over-year. Over the previous 12 months, the education and health services (+679,000), leisure and hospitality (+420,000) and professional and business services (+417,000) sectors experienced the largest job gains. Only the natural resources and mining sector (-5,000) experienced a decline in employment. Economic growth increased slightly in the third quarter of 2019 to 2.1 percent. The Consumer Confidence Index to decreased to 125.5, down slightly from 126.1 in October.
Utah’s labor market growth remains strong. In October, the state’s year-over-year employment growth improved from 3.1 percent to 3.2 percent – the highest rate in the country. Utah’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.5 percent; the second lowest unemployment rate ever. Utah added 51,200 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+11,000), education and health services (+9,600) and construction (+6,900) sectors adding the largest number of employees. No sector lost jobs year-over-year. Utah continues to experience significantly above trend inflation, with the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index rising 2.9 percent over the year compared to 1.8 percent nationwide.
Idaho’s labor market growth is holding steady. The state’s year-over-year employment growth slipped from 2.7 percent in September to 2.2 percent in October – the fifth highest rate in the nation. The unemployment rate remains well below the national average at 2.9 percent. Idaho added 15,300 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+6,000), education and health services (+3,100), and manufacturing (+2,400) sectors experiencing the largest employment gains. The leisure and hospitality (-1,400), information (-700) and other services (-200) sectors lost the most jobs year over year. Despite some slowing, home prices in Idaho continue to rise at the fastest rate in the nation. In October, the median home value rose by 11.2 percent from the year before versus 4.7 percent nationally.
Wyoming’s labor market growth has slowed over the second half of 2019. The state’s year-over-year employment growth fell to 0.2 percent in October, the lowest level of growth since December of last year. Wyoming’s unemployment rate rose to 3.8 percent. Wyoming added 700 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation and utilities (+1,400), financial activities (+500) and leisure and hospitality (+400) industries creating the most jobs. Only the natural resources and mining (-1,300) and education and health services (-1,200) sectors lost jobs year over year. August home price growth in Wyoming rose to 6.7 percent, up from 2.9 percent in July.