Economic indicators say Sanpete is “fit”
296 new jobs in 2017,
dwelling permits up 112 percent
By Robert Stevens
Sanpete County is running at the front of the pack when it comes to positive economic news being reported for the Central Utah region by the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS).
Sanpete County’s job growth stalled somewhat in the second and third quarters of 2017, but rebounded nicely in the fourth quarter,” said DWS Economist Lecia Langston. “In addition, unemployment remains historically low with no sign of seasonal layoffs. Construction and sales both turned in healthy performances. With all indicators showing improvement, Sanpete County appears to economically fit.”
The DWS released year-over data that addresses economic indicators such new nonfarm jobs, unemployment rates, new building permits and gross taxable sales.
With those factors in consideration, Sanpete County is leaving everyone but Sevier in the dust. In some cases, the contrast between Sanpete and some of the smaller Central Utah counties is stark.
For instance, year-over nonfarm job growth is up by 296 jobs. That’s up 3.7 percent, compared to statewide 3.6 percent averages and meager 1.5 percent nationwide gains.
Almost half of all of those new jobs in Sanpete are in manufacturing; a total of 133 new jobs and a growth of 15 percent over the previous year. Government jobs also saw a 76 position increase, although that’s only a 2.4 percent increase.
Mining jobs saw the largest percentage increase, rising by 58.3 percent. Don’t let that fool you though, since it only amounted to 14 new jobs in total—a testament to the stagnation of mining in Sanpete County.
The average monthly wage in Sanpete County has been climbing steadily since the recession and sits at just above $2,400, which is still $1,400 less than the statewide average monthly income of $3,800.
Seasonally adjust unemployment rates in Sanpete are rounding off at 3.7 percent. In comparison, the numbers are 3.1 percent statewide and 3.9 percent nationwide. Construction and professional services, which both involve seasonal factors, were the dominating contributors to unemployment claims.
Despite construction unemployment claims being the most common, construction is alive and well in Sanpete County. New residential building permits totaled 123 for 2017, and so far 2018 has already seen a further growth of 45 percent. Property values have boosted substantially over that time frame as well, with a 277 percent growth in 2017, and another 48 percent since then. Nonresidential permitting saw its own gains as well, boosting 77 percent over the year-to-date stats.
To top off the good things happening in wallets all over the county, gross taxable sales rates climbed 19.4 percent—the third straight quarter of double-digit gains. In contrast, statewide taxable sales are only up 9.2 percent.
Some other Central Utah counties are in bad shape compared with Sanpete. Piute County had a 9.5 percent drop in gross taxable sales, and saw zero percent increase in new dwelling construction. Wayne County actually has a 56 percent construction permitting rating, and has a 6 percent unemployment rate.
Only Sevier County, with its whopping 1,300 percent growth in building permit sales had the upper hand on Sanpete in any significant area.