May 2021 Economic Snapshot
As reopenings continue, new economic challenges emerge.
After a promising March, the pandemic recovery slowed as employers struggled to find workers. The U.S. labor market added a modest 266,000 jobs in April, with the unemployment rate increasing to 6.1%. The actual April job growth was much lower than consensus expectations that nearly 1 million jobs had been added since March. Employment growth was mixed, with leisure and hospitality (+331,000); government (+48,000); and other services (+44,000) adding the most jobs. Trade, transportion, and utilities (-81,000); professional and business services (-79,000); manufacturing (-18,000); and education and health services (-1,000) were the only industries to lose jobs month to month. April’s jobs numbers are another sign that the labor market recovery remains tenuous. The constrained growth numbers also point to an emerging struggle between a high demand for workers but a low supply
In March 2020, Utah’s economy began to experience the effects of the Coronavirus crisis. A year later, Utah saw the beginning of its recovery. In March, the Beehive State gained 0.9% of all jobs year over year, with most job gains coming in urban and exurban counties. The unemployment rate continued to decrease, declining 0.1% to 2.9% in March. Utah gained 13,800 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation, and utilities (+12,000); professional and business services (+10,100); and construction (+5,600) sectors gaining the most jobs. Leisure and hospitality (-9,300); government (-9,200); and education and health services (-2,400) lost the most jobs year over year. Annual housing price growth continues to accelerate, rising from 14.8% in February to 15.9% in March – the highest rate of annual housing price growth since the housing bubble of the late 2000s.
Idaho’s economic recovery continues to outpace the rest of the nation. For the third consecutive month, Idaho was the only state to experience employment growth of at least one percent growth. Gem State unemployment continues to improve as well, dropping from 3.3% in February to 3.2% in March. Unfortunately, the labor force participation rate declined to 62.8% in March – the lowest point since April 2020. Idaho gained 9,900 jobs over the past year, with the trade, transportation and utilities (+7,300); financial activities (+4,000); and construction (+2,500) sectors gaining the most jobs. Other services (-1,800); government (-1,400); and information (-1,000) lost the most jobs year over year. In February, Idaho’s annual housing price growth led the nation once again, hitting another all-time high of 22.9%.