Thursday, November 20, 2014

Box Elder County Economic Indicators

The Bear River region felt the effects of the downturn starting in 2009, when the labor market shed 3,795 jobs from the previous year. For the next two years, the region lost jobs (though Cache County contracted in 2009 only). The tide turned in 2012 when annual job gains in Cache and Rich counties outweighed job losses in Box Elder County. And while regional momentum continued to build in 2013, Bear River’s year-over growth measured consistently slower than the state average. So far, 2014 appears to be a different story with regional employment outpacing the rest of the state through the first six months of the year.
  • Box Elder payroll job growth in second quarter 2014 accelerated to an annual rate of 4.0 percent, the seventh fastest year-over job growth in the state and 1.2 percentage points faster than the Utah average. In total, the region added 670 jobs from second quarter 2013. Construction and manufacturing firms had notable gains of nearly 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Manufacturing industry growth is a particularly positive indicator of improving economic health.
  • The county’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in September. The last time Box Elder County had an unemployment rate under 4.0 percent was August of 2008. Despite the positive trend, the unemployment rate still registers 0.4 percentage points higher than the state average of 3.5 percent.
  • Although the labor market in the county picked up steam in second quarter 2014, average wages in the county continued to sputter along. Year-over wage growth equated to 0.9 percent, nearly 1 percentage point slower than the Utah rate of 1.7 percent. As the labor market gets tighter, there should be upward pressure on employee compensation, but it could be some time before consistently higher wages materialize. 
  • Box Elder experienced a 15 percent decline in taxable sales from second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014. The majority of the decline in taxable sales for the county came from adjustments for prior periods, which does not reflect normal business transactions. Excluding these adjustments from second quarter taxable sales results in a 5.9 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 (consistent with the recent growth rates).
  • Year-over home sales dipped 7.7 percent in third quarter of this year according to the Utah Association of Realtors. Though the housing market has come a long way since 2009, sales across the state were flat in between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014.