Monday, August 3, 2015

Box Elder County Economic Update

Box Elder County Picking Up Steam in Early 2015

By Matt Schroeder

Box Elder County has picked back up in early 2015. Employment growth improved markedly after a lull in late 2014. Taxable sales were up with particular strength in motor vehicles thanks in part to low oil prices. Unemployment remained low and initial unemployment insurance claims are back to pre-recession levels. Wages are still flagging a bit, but overall, the indicators are reaffirming that the long term trajectory of economic performance for the county is still positive.

Box Elder County

  • Box Elder County added 530 new jobs, accelerating to 3.1 percent year-over employment growth in March 2015 after seeing a bit of a slowdown in late 2014.
  • The manufacturing and retail trade industries led job growth in Box Elder, adding 156 and 115 jobs respectively in March 2015.
  • Employment growth in the telecom, cable, and internet provision and distribution was also notable, adding around 150 new jobs to the county, but those gains were offset by other losses in the professional and business services industries.
  • Box Elder County’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in June 2015. This is 0.3 percentage points below the June 2014 rate and just slightly higher than the state average of 3.5 percent.
  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance are averaging about 25 per week as of mid-July 2015.  Levels this low have not been seen in Box Elder since 2007.
  • The uptick in wages at the end of 2014 did not carry forward in 2015 unfortunately.  Box Elder wages were relatively flat at just 1.1 percent year-over growth in Q1 2015, rising slightly to $2,934 per month.
  • Statewide wage growth was similarly slow at 1.8 percent.
  • Residential construction continued its downward trend through May 2015. Permitted units were down to 94 YTD in May 2015, a 34 percent decrease since the same timeframe in 2014. 
  • The value of permitted nonresidential construction has fallen 63 percent over 2013, but the total values are up 27 percent indicating that despite the decline in the number of residential units, on average, they are worth more.    
  • Taxable sales in Box Elder County increased 7.1 percent year-over in Q1 2015, reaching more than $145 million.    
  • Retail and private motor vehicle sales together increased sales more than $5.5 million over Q1 2014 to reach $26.8 million total. Every area of retail sales saw improvement, but retail building materials, garden equipment, and supplies saw particular strength with an 80 percent increase.