THE LATEST NATIONAL TAX FOUNDATION NUMBERS comparing unemployment claims put Utah in a favorable position relative to her 50 sisters: as of May 16, the Beehive State had the nation’s lowest unemployment claims as a percentage of the civilian workforce, at 5.7%. Contrast Utah’s situation with the five states with the highest percentage of claims, including three states in our neighborhood: Washington (31%), Nevada (25%), Oregon (24%), Hawaii (24%) and Florida (23%). The figures reflect both initial and continuing claims.1
Of course, it hasn’t been sunshine in Utah. On May 22, the state’s Department of Workforce Services released numbers showing the walloping Utah’s workers took in April. Year over year, the dismal month saw a 111,000-job plunge, even after March had held relatively strong. Still, Utah’s April nonfarm payroll employment year-over drop of 7% significantly outperformed the nation at large, with a 13% swoon.2
On an industry basis, leisure and hospitality took by far the biggest hit in Utah — bigger than all other non-farm industries combined — dropping 47% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. One bright spot was construction, which actually saw a 3% uptick.3
1. Tax Foundation, https://files.taxfoundation.org/20200521093315/Table-2-of-Civilian-Workforce-5-21-FV-01.png.
2. Utah Department of Workforce Services, https://jobs.utah.gov/wi/update/index.html.
3. Utah Department of Workforce Services, https://jobs.utah.gov/wi/update/index.html.