Economics

Economic Snapshot - December 2020

For the fifth month in a row, the U.S. labor market recovery slowed.

Robert Spendlove and Drew Maggelet Dec 11, 2020

United States

For the fifth month in a row, the U.S. labor market recovery slowed. The U.S. added 245,000 jobs in November, an overall increase in employment, but nearly 365,000 fewer jobs than were added in October. While the unemployment rate declined to 6.7%, most of the drop is explained by fewer workers looking for jobs as the labor force participation rate declined from 61.7% in October to 61.5% in November. All but one sector grew month over month, with trade, transportation, and utilities (+121,000); professional and business services (+60,000); and education and health services (+54,000) adding the most jobs. Only the government (-99,000) sector lost jobs month to month. While overall economic prospects look good several months in the future, the economy will continue to struggle in the short term.

Utah

Utah’s economic recovery remains near the best in the nation. The Beehive State remains the second closest state to recovering to its 2019 economic levels, with employment declining less than one percent over the last year. Unemployment dropped from 5% in September back to its post-crisis low of 4.1% in October after unemployed workers dropped back out of the state’s workforce. Utah lost 8,400 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation, and utilities (+10,500); construction (+5,100); and financial activities (+3,000) sectors gaining the most jobs. Leisure and hospitality (-21,700); professional and business services (-4,100); and information (-2,100) lost the most jobs year over year. Annual housing price growth continues to speed up, rising from 8.5% in September to 9.9% in October.

Idaho

After seven months of year-over-year employment decline, Idaho became the first state to report no job losses year over year since the beginning of the coronavirus economic crisis. Once again, unemployment was well above the post-crisis low of 3.8%, registering 5.0% in October. Fortunately, this elevated level appears to be due to more Idahoans remaining in the workforce. The Idaho labor force participation rate was 64.7% in October, near its highest rate in 10 years. Idaho gained 3,500 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation and utilities (+5,000); financial activities (+3,100); and construction (+2,300) sectors gaining the most jobs. Government (-4,900); education and health services (-2,600); and information (-1,400) lost the most jobs year over year. Idaho housing price growth was the highest in the nation at 12.5%.

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