Economic Snapshot — February 2021
The economic recovery gets back on track
After a tough December that saw 227,000 jobs lost, the U.S. labor market returned to modest growth in January, adding 49,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined 0.4% to 6.3%, and labor force participation declined to 61.4%. Industry employment growth was mixed month over month, with professional and business services (+97,000); government (+43,000); and information (+16,000) adding the most jobs. Leisure and hospitality (-61,000); trade, transportation, and utilities (-50,000); and manufacturing (-10,000) sectors lost the most jobs month to month. Although this month’s economic indicators were weaker than many would like them to be, there is reason to be optimistic that future months will see more significant growth as the stimulus passed in December fully kicks in.
In December, Utah finally regained all the jobs lost during the pandemic. The Beehive State was one of only two states to have recovered all jobs lost during the crisis, while also adding jobs year over year. Unemployment declined significantly in December, dropping 0.7% to 3.6%. The labor force participation rate also increased, rising to 68.1% in December. Utah gained 9,900 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation, and utilities (+14,000); construction (+6,900); and financial activities (+6,100) sectors gaining the most jobs. Leisure and hospitality (-20,900); government (-4,300); and information (-2,400) lost the most jobs year over year. Annual housing price growth continues to accelerate, rising from 11% in November to 12.7% in December.
For the first time, Idaho has gained back all jobs lost during the pandemic. Gem State unemployment continues to improve as well, declining from 4.8% in November to 4.4% in December. The labor force participation rate, after declining in recent months, remained level at 63.9%. Idaho gained 5,400 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation and utilities (+8,600); manufacturing (+3,300); and financial activities (+3,200) sectors gaining the most jobs. Government (-6,400); education and health services (-3,800); and other services (-2,200) lost the most jobs year over year. In December, Idaho’s housing price growth came close to housing boom peaks. Housing prices in Idaho grew 16.6% in December, nearly double the national rate of 8.4%.