SALT LAKE CITY — Six days after the U.S. reported a disappointing 266,000 jobs created in April, the Department of Labor reported the lowest numbers of unemployment initial claims of the pandemic: 473,000.
In Utah, unemployment numbers are trending down week-to-week but the latest number, 3,341 initial claims, is not a pandemic low. Utah reported initial claims below 2,000 in the last weeks of February.
The unemployment pictures in the U.S. and in Utah are more a collage than a portrait. While Utah’s overall unemployment rate is a lowest-in-the-nation 2.9%, that’s a distant view of the colleage.
Look to the southeast, San Juan (6.7%), Grand (5.2%), Wayne (5.1%) and Garfield (6.6%) counties all have high unemployment rates related to a decline in tourism.
Similarly, Uintah (6.7%) and Duchesne (5.6%) counties have high unemployment related to the pandemic-caused decline in demand for oil.
The two regions may be poised to rebound in the coming months, with tourism already showing new signs of life and rising gas prices making the hard-to-get crude in the Uintah Basin more profitable.