Utah Jobless Rate Rises to 7.1 Percent in February

March 19, 2010 - 4:17 PM
Utah's unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent in February, the highest since 1984, the state Department of Workforce Services said Thursday.
Salt Lake City (AP) - Utah's unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent in February, the highest since 1984, the state Department of Workforce Services said Thursday.
 
The figure means 95,300 people in Utah were considered unemployed - a figure that doesn't count others who have given up looking for work - said Mark Knold, the department's chief economist. The jobless rate was up from 6.8 percent in January.
 
Utah lost about 27,700 jobs over the past year, leaving total employment at just under 1.17 million.
 
The state economy is improving since it bottomed out in February 2009, when the state posted its biggest job losses, according to Knold. He expects Utah to post net gains in employment later this year.
 
Utah's professional and business services industry is already adding more jobs than it loses, for a net gain of 300 over the past year, when the sector posted big losses. That's a sign businesses are looking to expand, Knold said.
 
Also recovering is the construction industry, he said.
 
Utah's unemployment rate for February remained well below the national figure of 9.7 percent.