Utah has hit a new low, but in this case, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Recent reports by the office of Governor Gary R. Herbert indicate that the state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent as the state economy picked up in January. This decrease in unemployment has resulted in the lowest rate we’ve seen in five years, putting us on a great track for 2014.
“This is terrific news,” said Gov. Herbert. “For the first time since the start of the Great Recession in Utah, our unemployment rate has fallen below 4 percent. It has been cut by more than half since I took office. This attests to the fact that our economy is strong and getting stronger.”
The national average for unemployment is 6.6 percent. In December, Utah’s unemployment rate was already at a relatively low 4.1 percent, but continued to fall in January to the record low of 3.9 percent. While this indicates that many Utahns have been better able to find employment, it also means that the demand for qualified employees is high in our state.
What this Means for Utah Employers
At this moment, we’re technically classified as below full employment. This means that there are available positions at great Utah companies that simply cannot be filled with a qualified candidate from within the state.
According to Gov. Herbert, “We must to do a better job aligning educational outcomes with the needs of the marketplace. Sadly, today there are jobs we can’t fill.”
The demand for highly qualified candidates comes from Utah’s significant job growth of 2.8 percent in January. This percentage represents an increase of 34,700 jobs over the past 12 months. Nine of Utah’s 10 private sector industries added jobs over the past year, with the largest increases coming in Leisure and Hospitality, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and Professional and Business Services.
Companies looking to fill important positions with great candidates may have to get a bit creative until educational outcomes catch up with their industries’ demands. Collecting referrals, getting out and active in recruitment, and conducting thorough interviewing processes can help Utah companies identify and qualify candidates in this tough market. In some cases, professional search and recruitment services may be the most time and cost effective solution for companies and organizations seeking top talent from within their industries.
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