Economic Snapshot - March 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.

Robert Spendlove and Joseph Mayans Mar 15, 2019

United States

The United States labor market struggled with job creation in February, adding a fewer-than-expected 20,000 jobs. Despite the slowdown in hiring, the unemployment rate declined from 4.0 percent to 3.8 percent. Additionally, annual wage growth improved to the highest level since April 2009, rising from 3.1 percent in January to 3.4 percent in February. Annual employment growth remained solid with every industry experiencing job gains. The professional and business services (+537,000), education and health services (+499,000), and leisure and hospitality (+410,000) sectors experienced the largest number of job gains over the past 12 months. Economic growth slowed below 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, expanding at 2.6 percent. After slumping in January, due to the government shutdown and financial market volatility, consumer confidence bounced back in February.


Utah continues to have one of the best labor markets in the nation. In January, the state’s year-over-year employment growth improved from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent – the 2nd highest rate in the country. Utah’s unemployment rate also declined from 3.2 percent to 3.1 percent. Utah’s unemployment rate has been under 4 percent since February 2014. Utah added 47,600 jobs over the past year, with the leisure and hospitality (+11,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (+9,100), and education and health services (+5,600) sectors adding the largest number of employees. Utah continues to experience above trend inflation, with the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index rising 4.8 percent over the year versus 1.6 percent nationwide.


The Idaho economy continues to grow. Year-over-year employment growth remained strong at 2.4 percent in January. Idaho added 19,000 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+4,700), construction (+3,400), and education and health services (+2,800) sectors experiencing the largest employment gains. Information (-600) was the only sector to experience job losses. Housing prices in Idaho continue to speed up with Idaho median housing prices rising 17.3 percent year-over-year. Idaho's median home value rate of growth is the fastest in the nation, well above the national average of 7.5 percent.


Wyoming’s labor market has slowed down over the last month as the year-over-year job growth slowed to 1.4 percent in January. The unemployment rate decreased to 4 percent but remains above the national average. Wyoming added 4,000 jobs over the past year, with the construction (+1,900), professional and business services (+1,100), and trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,100) sectors experiencing the largest employment gains. Education and health services (-700), leisure and hospitality (-400), information (-100), and natural resources and mining (-100) all experienced job losses. Housing prices in Wyoming continue to grow at a moderate rate but remain below the national average of 7.5 percent.

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