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Utah's 'red hot' job market cools slightly but remains above national average

Posted at 8:21 AM, Sep 15, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's "red hot" job market slowed down slightly in August, according to the latest employment summary by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

August's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is estimated at 2.5%, with 45,800 Utahns unemployed, a one-tenth of one percentage point increase compared to July.

Still, Utah's unemployment rate remained significantly lower than the national rate, which moved up three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.8%.

Even though the unemployment rate increased ever so slightly, local experts are not too concerned, saying the market is balancing itself out.

"If you look at how hot things were a year ago, you can't sustain that," explained Nate McDonald with DWS. "To think you could, it's just not realistic."

In total, 41,400 jobs have been added to the state's economy since August 2022. McDonald said lodging and hospitality remained a popular industry in August.

"We just came out of the summer months," he explained. "We're reporting on August, so...we should still see lodging and hospitality with some great growth. As we move forward, we might see some of that taper off a little because we're going kind of what they like to call the 'mud season.'"

Education, health, construction and a category called "other services," also continue to be high in-demand industries in Utah, McDonald said.

As for industries on the decline, McDonald said trade, transportation, utilities and manufacturing are all dealing with less jobs now compared to a year ago.

"During the pandemic, trade, transportation and utilities were the largest growing," McDonald reported. "We saw so many jobs come in because of online retail, courier services...to see that we're not at the same rate as a year ago, it's not surprising."

For job seekers, the slight dip means that they won't be able to be as picky as they once were. However, McDonald reassured that there are plenty of opportunities in Utah for those who want them.

"There's still jobs out there," he said. "You just need to be willing to look at where those opportunities are."