State and county officials optimistic about 2012 economic forecast

changes to unemployment
Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE – According to a December 2011 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 85,800 Utah residents are currently looking of work.

However, Utah continues to be a leading state in national employment growth. Over 30,000 jobs were added in the last year, resulting in a 2.5 percent overall increase.

Though the metropolitan areas of northern Utah appear to be recovering more quickly, employment in Washington County has shown significant improvement in recent months.

“Most of our industries have returned to growth, with new jobs opening up,” said Lecia Langston, an economist with the Department of Workforce Services who oversees the Utah’s southwestern region.

“Transportation, manufacturing, wholesale trade, hospitality, and private education all show positives,” Langston said. “I expect that the trend of moderate job growth that we’re seeing right now will continue improving in 2012.”

On Dec. 19, DWS released its seasonal unemployment rates for all counties of Utah. Though current unemployment in Washington County is significantly higher than the state overall, the rate has dropped nearly two full points – from 9.9 percent to 8 percent – since November 2010 and is below the national average of 8.6 percent.

“I have a very, very positive outlook for 2012,” said Scott Hirschi, the director of economic development for Washington County.

“Companies seem to be willing to take aggressive action once again, anticipating a stronger national and international economy,” Hirschi said.

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.


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