Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rich 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.
  • Rich County saw payroll employment grow at the slowest year-over rate of the three counties in the Bear River region. From second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014 the county added 15 jobs, a growth rate of 2.2 percent. Retail trade shrank 20.1 percent and shed the most jobs (13) of any industry.
  • Although job growth in the county came in below the Utah average, the unemployment rate continues to fall. The rate settled at 2.3 percent in September, which is among the lowest figures in the state. Like Cache County, the slack in the labor market is dissipating dramatically in 2014.  
  • The tightening of the labor market might be reflected in the county’s quarterly increase in average monthly wages, which increased 2.6 percent from 2013. It is also likely that this quarterly increase is in part a reflection of losing several jobs in a low-paying industry like retail sales.
  • Second quarter 2014 taxable sales in Rich County were down significantly from 2013, but the data are skewed by the inclusion of adjustment for prior periods (similar to Box Elder County). If these adjustments are excluded, the county actually experienced a healthy 6.8 percent increase in taxable sales over the year.
  • Two fewer homes were sold in third quarter 2014 (17) compared to the year prior (19), and year-to-date data point to a consistent downward trend in 2014 home sales (down 42.6 percent).