Labor Underutilization in Utah

By: Jim Robson, Senior Economist

Utah’s official, monthly, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for October 2018 was 3.2 percent. Such a low rate has characterized the Utah labor market for several years. To be unemployed and counted in the labor force, a person must not have a job, be available to take a job and have actively sought a job in the past four weeks. But this “official” unemployment rate measure is not the only labor utilization measurement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) actually has unemployment measures and labor underutilization measures beyond the official rate. It calculates these on a quarterly basis for the nation and all 50 states.

Unemployment and labor underutilization estimates are based on a national monthly survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS). Other variables are added to the state survey results, as state’s CPS sample is relatively small.

BLS’ most inclusive labor underutilization measure is known as U-6 (the last of six underutilization statistics). There are three components to U-6. In addition to the officially unemployed (U-3), BLS adds marginally attached workers — those who are available for work and have looked for work during the past year but did not look for work in the most recent four weeks (U-5). Finally, BLS adds in involuntary part-time workers [1] — those who are working part-time but want full-time jobs. This becomes U-6. U-6 cannot be labeled an unemployment rate, as it includes people who are not unemployed; but, these people are not working to the fullest extent they would like. From their perspective, they are underutilized. Because of this employed component, the U-series is labeled as an underutilization measure instead of an unemployment measure. More...

Utah's Employment Summary: October 2018

Utah’s employment for October 2018 grew by an estimated 3.2 percent, adding 48,300 jobs to the economy since October 2017. Utah’s current employment level registers 1,539,200. September’s year-over job growth rate was revised downward three-tenths to 3.3 percent.

October’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from the prior month at 3.2 percent. Approximately 50,000 Utahns were unemployed during the month and actively seeking work. The national unemployment rate also remained unchanged from last month at 3.7 percent. More...

They're Here - Utah Releases New Long-Term Occupational Projections

Methodological Changes Don’t Affect the Overall Trends

By: Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”

-C.F. Kettering

What’s the most frequently accessed information on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website? Occupational outlook data. Why is the public so interested in these figures? Occupational outlook or projections data is used by individuals and counselors in career and employment planning. This information can also help education leadership plan new training and instructional programs. In addition, economic development personnel use it to understand the strengths of their local economy and planners use it to strategize for the future.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services projects occupational (and industry) employment every two years following the publication of BLS data. These Utah projections fill the same career, educational and economic planning needs at the local level. Our most recent projections are now available for state and substate areas. More...