Economic Snapshot - October 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 Oct 11, 2019

United States

Job creation in the U.S. continues to slow despite an overall decline in the unemployment rate. In September, employers added a fewer-than-expected 136,000 jobs. This brings the average monthly job gain in 2019 to 161,000, which is well below the 220,000 jobs created per month during the same period in 2018. While employment growth remained sluggish in September, the unemployment rate declined to the lowest level in five decades of 3.5 percent. Additionally, the broader measure of underemployment fell to a 19-year low of 6.9 percent. Employment gains were broad based over the last year, with education and health services (+617,000), professional and business services (+437,000), and leisure and hospitality (+349,000) adding the largest number of jobs. While manufacturing continued to add jobs on an annual basis, the sector’s growth has slowed significantly. According to the Institute for Supply Management, economic activity in manufacturing has contracted for two consecutive months and now sits at the lowest point since 2009.


Utah’s labor market remains one of the best in the nation. In August, the state had the 2nd highest year-over-year employment growth in the country at 2.8 percent. The unemployment rate in Utah also tied for the 6th lowest of any state at 2.8 percent. Every major industry added jobs over the past year, with professional and business services (+10,200), education and health services (+10,000), and manufacturing (+6,300) adding the largest number of employees. Despite an overall slowdown of inflation at the national level, inflation along the Wasatch Front jumped to 3.1 percent in August. Utah’s home prices also rose 8.1 percent from the year before, which was 2nd only to Idaho.


Idaho’s labor market growth remains solid but has slowed slightly. In August, the state’s year-over-year employment growth declined to 2.1 percent - still good enough for the 8th highest rate in the nation. The unemployment rate remains well below the national average at 2.9 percent. Idaho added 16,500 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+5,500), manufacturing (+2,800), and government (+2,600) sectors experiencing the largest employment gains. Only the information (-600) sector lost jobs year over year. Despite some slowing, home prices in Idaho continue to rise at the fastest rate in the nation. In August, the median home value rose by 13.3 percent from the year before versus 4.9 percent nationally.


Wyoming’s labor market growth remains solid but has slowed a little since July. The state’s year-over-year employment growth slipped to 1.3 percent in August. Wyoming’s unemployment rate remained near the national average at 3.7 percent. Wyoming added 3,800 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,900), construction (+1,700), and other services (+1,200) industries creating the most jobs. The natural resources and mining (-1,400), professional and business services (-300), education and health services (-200), and financial activities (-100) sectors lost jobs year over year. August home price growth in Wyoming rose to 5.0 percent, up from 2.9 percent in July.

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