Economic Snapshot - September 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 U.S. labor market was mixed in August as employers added a fewer-than-expected 130,000 jobs. While average monthly job creation has slowed from 223,000 per month in 2018, to 158,000 per month in 2019, other indicators remain solid. The overall unemployment rate stayed near five-decade lows at 3.7 percent in August, and the rate for African Americans, and Hispanics and Latinos, fell to the lowest levels on record at 5.5 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Employment gains were broad based over the last year, with the education and health services (+573,000), professional and business services (+449,000), and leisure and hospitality (+317,000) sectors adding the largest number of employees. While the manufacturing sector added jobs over the last 12 months, employment growth has declined with the escalation of the U.S.-China trade war. The downturn in manufacturing can be seen in the ISM Manufacturing Index, which posted the lowest reading since 2016 and signaled a contraction in the industry.
Utah’s labor market remained one of the best in the nation in July. The state had the highest year-over-year employment growth in the country at 3.1 percent. The unemployment rate in Utah was also tied for the 5th lowest of any state at 2.8 percent. This is lowest unemployment rate in Utah since 2007. Every major industry added jobs over the past year, with education and health services (+12,300), professional and business services (+11,800), and manufacturing (+6,600) adding the largest number of employees. Inflation along the Wasatch Front continued to moderate though it still remains above the national average. Despite slowing in recent months, at 8.8 percent, annual home price appreciation in Utah was second only to Idaho and well above the 5.2 percent growth witnessed nationwide.
Idaho’s labor market keeps growing. In July, the state’s year-over-year employment growth rose to 2.8 percent - the 4th highest rate in the nation. The unemployment rate remains well below the national average at 2.9 percent. Idaho added 22,200 jobs over the past year, with the professional and business services (+6,600), education and health services (+3,200), and trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,900) sectors experiencing the largest employment gains. Only the information (-700) sector lost jobs year-over-year. Despite some slowing, home prices in Idaho continue to rise at the fastest rate in the nation. In July, the median home value rose by 13.7 percent from the year before versus 5.2 percent nationally.
Wyoming’s labor market continues to grow. The state’s year-over-year employment growth remained above the national average in July at 1.7 percent. Wyoming’s unemployment rate also remained below the national average at 3.6 percent. Wyoming added 4,800 jobs over the past year, with the construction (+2,600), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,200), and other services (+1,300) industries creating the most jobs. The leisure and hospitality (-800), natural resources and mining (-800), education and health services (-700), and financial activities (-200) sectors lost jobs year over year. Home price growth in Wyoming remained below the national average at 2.9 percent.