Significant Statistics | Uneven Distribution of Utah’s Unemployment

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Utah’s tourism-destination counties – particularly those in Southeastern Utah – and the state’s most important oil and gas extraction counties have been the slowest to recover from the pandemic-resultant recession.

In the Southeastern part of the state, Garfield, Grand, San Juan and Wayne counites’ unemployment rates remain between 8.3% and 10.3%. Duchesne and Uintah counties sit at 7.6% and 8.5%, respectively. The decline in energy prices mentioned in Utah Foundation’s September 24 release, Utah Priority No. 4: Jobs and the Economy, plays a role in the contraction among oil and gas extraction counties.

The only other county in the state with an unemployment rate above 6% is Summit County, hit by a decrease in tourism. Rich County is the biggest exception for tourism-dependent counties, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.

Utah’s tourism- and oil/gas-dependent counties are most affected by unemployment.

Figure 1: Unemployment Rate in August

Southeastern Utah and oil/gas-dependent counties are particularly struggling with unemployment.

Figure 2: Unemployment Rate in August



For this post, tourism-dependent counties are defined as those in which tourism accounts for over one sixth of the labor force, and oil/gas- or energy-dependent counties are defined as those in which mining (in this case oil and gas) accounts for over one eighth of the labor force.


Utah Department of Workforce Services, Current County Unemployment,

Utah Department of Workforce Services, Local Insights – County Snapshots, Utah Foundation calculations.

Comments are closed.