SALT LAKE CITY -- The Department of Workforce Services predicts job numbers to be back to what they were in 2019 near the beginning of next year.
Nate McDonald, the communications director for the Department of Workforce Services, said Utah was at a -0.5 percent loss — just below zero — in October.
“Considering all that has happened, we have the second-best employment gain number in the country,” said McDonald.
Half of Utah’s major private-sector industry groups have posted net job gains.
The trade, transportation and utilities category shows the most employment increase, reporting 10,500 new jobs.
Construction has 5,100 new jobs; financial activities with 3,000; other services with 2,700 jobs and manufacturing with 1,300 jobs.
“As a whole from the state of Utah, from a job numbers standpoint, we’re getting close to getting back to where we were,” said McDonald.
That means by the front end of 2021, employment numbers will be better than they were in 2019.
What McDonald said they are hoping for is a vaccine that will help consumer confidence, creating more cash flow, ultimately resulting in more jobs in the market.
“You’re going to have a lot more of a competitive field right now,” said McDonald. “We flipped from being a job seeker's market to an employer's market.”
For the next six months or so, McDonald said people may see their unemployment insurance run dry.
“It’s a hard message to share with people that you might have to start looking for a job that is not what you wanted,” said McDonald. “That job that you don’t want is still going to pay you more than unemployment insurance and that job is going to pay you more than nothing.”
The Department of Workforce Services looks at the economic impacts from an employment side, but at the Utah Department of Commerce, spokesman Brian Maxwell said they can view the impacts of the pandemic from new business license registrations.
“In the nearly nine months since March 1, business registration filings are up,” wrote Maxwell in an email to FOX 13.
68,249 business registration filings in that period of time puts Utah “on pace for a record,” wrote Maxwell.
Compare that with the previous two years: from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, there were 74,743 filings.
In that same time period for 2019, 73,967 filings were made.
It’s good to note that this year’s filings only show data from March 1 to Nov. 25 — still, Maxwell wrote: “It’s good news.”
“When the economy struggled in 2008-2010, these same filings were down,” wrote Maxwell. “Utah looks resilient.”
Selvaraj Sellamubhu is one of the business owners who registered this year, opening his restaurant doors on July 13.
With each dish served and every good customer review, Sellamubhu hopes it will be enough to keep his restaurant open.
“Even if the food is not 100 percent good, it will reach a lot of people,” said Sellamubhu.
The Chettinad House has stayed open for nearly five months.
According to Sellamubhu, the first six months of any restaurant opening can be challenging.
“Because of COVID, we were not able to focus more on marketing,” said Sellamubhu. “That’s our biggest challenge.”
Sellamubhu said he owns many restaurants in India, where he was born.
He moved to Utah four years ago and missed “fresh” Indian food.
“All the spices, everything we grow in our own land and we are always preparing the food, so why can’t we do everything here?” said Sellamubhu.
While cooking up new dishes for his customers, Sellamubhu said he tried applying for the State’s rental program along and applied for PPE funding, but was rejected.
“The state wants me to show last year's books, but I opened during this time so I don’t have any of the balances for last year,” said Sellamubhu.
As Sellamubhu continues to wait for answers about his income and how to pay his rent, he has hope that business will pick up after the vaccine is distributed.
“It takes three months minimum to take people to feel safe to go out,” said Sellamubhu.