BY TOM BUSSELBERG
LAYTON – The local economy isn’t growing at blockbuster rates experienced through 2007.
But it’s doing OK, and in most ways performing better than the national economy, said Tyson Smith, Northern Utah Regional Economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Davis County’s economy is more diverse, and has been better able to withstand impacts of such recent events as the Sequestration, he said.
“We thought it would be worse,” he said of impact for Davis County workers of Sequestration.
The economy didn’t suffer as much of a bump due to the recent federal closure, either, Smith said.
“Weber County was hit really hard,” comparatively, he said. That’s because a greater percentage of their workforce is employed there.
Davis County’s government sector continues to grow, but has much less overall impact than even in the 1990 downturn, Smith said.
The federal government continues to be the county’s largest employer. But growth in healthcare services, and education have lessened impact to the county.
“Government continues to be the largest sector., but has less and less impact as a percent of the workforce,” he told the Davis Chamber of Commerce.
The federal workforce has fallen from nearly one-fourth of the economy to one-sixth, he said.
“That shows how much more diverse the area’s economy is. It does not mean the federal government has lost employees. It’s actually gained,” Smith said.
“Overall there is a pretty good balance in the county as far as jobs,” Chamber President Jim Smith said.
Touching on other sectors of the local economy, he said:
Ґ Retail trade is continuing to grow as does the county’s population. It isn’t the highest paying job sector, but signals a growing economy.
Ґ The professional office category, including that of corporate or regional company headquarters, continues to lag. Davis County is below the regional average in that category.
Ґ Manufacturing has continued to add employees, outpacing the national percentage of those working in that sector.
Ґ Construction jobs are growing at a faster pace than the national average. They tend to be higher-paying and are making a strong comeback after the 2007 recession.
“Overall we’re seeing consistent growth. We are in the black” as far as more jobs this year than last year at this time, Smith said.
“Job growth was not sustainable the way it was going” before the 2007 recession.
“But did we want to keep things at pre-recession levels? Was that sustainable?” he asked.
In his previous job, Smith was instrumental in setting up the Zions Bank Consumer Price Index. It’s often consulted as a local and Utah economic indicator.