Workers With Disabilities Help Fuel Utah’s Post-COVID Economy

By Ben Crabb, Regional Economist

Given intended economic restrictions through monetary policy undertaken by the United States Federal Reserve (Fed), the resilience of labor markets has been a surprise to many economists throughout 2022 and 2023. In Utah, the number of jobs now is above what would have been anticipated given the deep COVID jobs disruption coupled with Fed moves to slow the economy’s post-COVID inflation flareup. The continued expansion of the labor market depends to a large degree on maintaining a high labor force participation rate. After taking a downturn in the early part of the pandemic, Utah’s labor force participation rate has rebounded and is now at its highest level since 2009. This article will explore how an oftentimes under-utilized part of the workforce — workers with disabilities — has helped fuel Utah’s increased labor force participation rate. More...

Higher Education’s Role in Utah’s Workforce

Marilyn Cannon, Regional Economist

Utah continues to be a state that emphasizes the importance and value of education, something that is increasingly apparent as the average education level and number of enrollees in Utah colleges and universities continues to rise. Women, in particular, have been pursuing higher education at greater rates than men. The Utah economy has rewarded individuals obtaining higher degrees. They have greater access to employment opportunities as the number of jobs requiring higher education has increased. These jobs are also, on average, higher paying opportunities.

It is interesting to note that while college education is increasingly popular in Utah, there is a decreasing number of students enrolling in higher education in other states. From 2019 to 2022, only three states saw an increase in college enrollments. Utah topped the charts with enrollments going up 3.6%. The other 47 states saw fewer students filling the chairs in colleges and universities. This Utah enrollment increase is driven by a few different factors. The state has a young population, creating more potential for enrollment growth. Utah also has relatively less expensive education, recently ranked as the state with the highest degree value. This measure compares the cost of tuition and the earnings potential from a degree. The importance Utahns place on higher education also encourages high enrollment numbers. A 2022 survey found that 74% of Utahns feel that higher education is worth the cost. More...

Utah’s Employment Summary: March 2022

(April 15, 2022) Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for March 2022 increased an estimated 4.0% across the past 12 months, with the state’s economy adding a cumulative 62,900 jobs since March 2021. Utah’s current job count stands at 1,650,800.

March’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate is estimated at 2.0%, with approximately 33,400 Utahns unemployed. February’s unemployment rate remains unrevised at 2.1%. The March national unemployment rate continued to move downward, lowering to 3.6%. More...