Jobs and Surplus Underscore Utah’s Economic Strength

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s economy in May continued to grow at a healthy rate, adding 8,700 people to the work force and reducing unemployment to 4.6 percent.

In another positive development, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) and the Legislative Fiscal Analyst estimate Utah will close the 2013 fiscal year that ends June 30 with a surplus of between $135 million and $195 million.

“These numbers attest to the strength of our economy, the dynamism of our people and the wisdom of our State’s commitment to fiscal conservatism and the free market principles,” said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. “Our continued success in creating private sector jobs, as well as the anticipated surplus in our General and Education funds, is a testament that Utah does things the right way.”

Utah’s job growth in May was 2.6 percent, down slightly from 3.5 percent in April, but far outpacing the U.S. rate of 1.6 percent. Utah’s unemployment rate is 3 percent lower than the national rate of 7.6 percent.

Juliette Tennert, GOMB chief economist, said the small decline in Utah’s job growth rate in May is nothing to be alarmed about.

“In a strong expansion such as Utah has been experiencing the past year, some months will be slower than average, and some months will be faster than average,” Tennert said.   “Despite the occasional bump, our State’s economy is making strong, steady progress.”