By Matt Schroeder
Cache County began 2015 with solid, consistent economic performance. Taxable sales were up more than 7.3 percent with particular strength in retail markets. Employment growth was steady and broad-based at 2.6 percent despite an extremely low unemployment rate. Wages are still relatively flat, but overall, the indicators are reaffirming that the long term trajectory of economic performance for the county is still positive.
- Cache County maintained healthy 2.6 percent year-over job growth in March 2015 adding 1,366 jobs. The expansion is slightly slower than 2014 rates and may reflect constraints imposed by Cache County's extremely low 2.9 percent unemployment rate.
- Job growth has been relatively broad based in Cache County with most industry sectors experiencing positive change since March 2014.
- Major contributors include state government educational services and retail trade which added 334 and 324 new jobs respectively.
- Cache County's unemployment rate was relatively unchanged in June 2015. At 2.9 percent it is the lowest in the state.
- Initial unemployment claims jumped up to about 60 per week in mid-July due to manufacturing layoffs.
- This is not a typical, seasonal occurrence, so it likely foreshadows some temporary slowing in manufacturing job growth and a slight increase to the unemployment rate in coming months.
- Wages were flat in Q1 2015 and at $2,637 per month the average wage is about $900 below the state average of $3,530. 10 of 11 major industry sectors in Cache County have average wages more than 17 percent below their respective state averages.
- Residential construction permits reached 210 units year-to-date as of May 2015. This is a 27 percent decline in comparison the same time-frame last year. Nonresidential permit value also declined by 11 percent.
- Taxable sales were up for the twelfth consecutive quarter accelerating to 7.3 percent year-over, reaching nearly $378 million.
- Retail sales of food/beverages, general merchandise and motor vehicles topped the list in terms of total taxable sales with $49, $41, and $33 million respectively.
- Professional/scientific/technical services, retail health and personal care stores, and accommodations were among the fastest growing areas in terms of taxable sales.