Economic Snapshot - February 2019
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 didn’t miss a beat despite the longest government shutdown in history. In January, the U.S. added a better-than-expected 304,000 jobs, bumping monthly job creation to 100 consecutive months. Employment gains were broad-based, with the professional and business services (+546,000), education and health services (+522,000), and leisure and hospitality (+410,000) sectors adding the most jobs over the past 12 months. The unemployment rate rose from 3.9 percent in December to 4.0 percent in January, due in part to furloughed government workers declaring themselves as unemployed. Consumer confidence remains robust, but has moderated over the past couple of months due to deteriorating economic conditions and uncertainty surrounding the government shutdown and trade negotiations with China.
Utah continues to have one of the best labor markets in the nation. In December, the state’s year-over-year employment growth improved from 3.0 percent to 3.1 percent – the 4th highest rate in the country. Utah’s unemployment rate remained at 3.2 percent. Utah added 47,200 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation, and utilities (+15,000), education and health services (+5,900), and government (+5,700) sectors adding the largest number of employees. Utah continues to experience above trend inflation, with the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index rising 5.4 percent over the year versus 1.9 percent nationwide. With uncertainty over the national economy rising, the Utah Consumer Attitude Index fell from 115.8 in December, to 113.9 in January.
Idaho’s labor market continues to expand, but there are signs that the low unemployment rate is making it difficult for employers to find the workers they need. In December, the state’s year-over-year employment growth remained at 2.0 percent - the 16th highest rate in the nation, but the lowest level in the state since 2013. This slowdown in job creation comes at a time when Idaho’s unemployment rate remains at an all-time low of 2.6 percent. Idaho added 14,400 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+5,000), government (+2,700), and manufacturing (+2,100) sectors experiencing the largest employment gains. Only the information (-600) sector experienced job losses. The state’s strong labor market and robust population growth continue to push up home values. In December, Idaho’s median home value rose 16.6 percent from the year before versus a 7.6 percent rise nationwide.
Wyoming’s labor market slowed down slightly in December, but is still running hot. The state’s year-over-year employment growth was the 7th fastest in the nation in December at 2.8 percent. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent. Wyoming added 8,000 jobs over the past year, with the construction (+2,900), leisure and hospitality (+2,200), and trade, transportation, and utilities (+900) industries creating the most jobs. The government (-100) and other services (-300) sectors were once again the only industries to lose jobs year-over-year. Housing prices remain above the national average despite below average housing price growth.