That’s in stark contrast to early 2007, when only 2.3 percent of the county’s workforce was out of work, a just-released Department of Workforce Services newsletter indicates.
Davis County’s December rate is still lower than the other two counties in the Wasatch Front North region, Weber at 7.6 percent and Morgan at 6.3 percent. But Box Elder, in the Bear River region, is at 7.2 percent, while Cache County is still relatively low at 4.7 percent.
Regional DWS Economist John Mathews recalled how employment “increased steadily” in Davis County through the 1999 to 2007 period.
“The county was not adversely affected by the 2000-2001 Dot-Com recession as were many other areas,” Mathews said.
He attributed that to industry diversity and the presence of Hill AFB which “to some degree insulated the economy from recessionary impacts.”
Economic growth slowed in July 2008 when job losses started and accelerated into 2009, he said.
March 2009 saw the highest job loss, when there were 4.7 percent fewer jobs than a year earlier.
“The good news is that the shedding of jobs has decelerated to about a negative 2.3 percent (or 8,000 jobs) in September,” Mathews said.
Construction, manufacturing, and recommissioning at the base, to a degree, contributed to employment loss.
Spending, meanwhile, something the economist called “an important indicator of the strength of the economy,” declined both in 2008 and 2009.
“The county’s sputtering economy hopefully has bottomed out,” he said.
Meanwhile, building activity increased slightly during the first 11 months of 2009, Mathews said. However, total construction valuation dropped 18 percent.
Consumer spending was down by 4.3 percent during the July-September 2009 period.
For that same period, job losses, 2009 compared to 2008, totaled 8.2 percent, or more than 8,000 jobs. Nearly 1,500 job losses came from construction and 1,000 from a decline in wholesale and retail trade.
Pluses came in health care, which added 490 jobs, and hospitality, which added 120 positions. Government employment added 480 federal positions and 140 for local government.
But “it appears the rate of job losses is slowing which, hopefully, means the recession is bottoming out,” he said.
“There are a few glimmers of light at the national and state level that may be harbingers of better times ahead,” Mathews said.