According to Jeff Thredgold, national economist for Zions Bank and author of Insight quarterly magazine, the economic growth of Utah and Davis County has stalled in recent months. He says the most common cause is due to the national slowdown catching up to the state and local economies.
“Dismal new home construction activity, soft home prices, high energy and food costs, and the most serious threat to global financial markets since the Great Depression,” he stated in his publication. “The weakest pace of economic activity in five years is likely to continue well into 2009 before some improvement is expected.”
The news doesn’t come as a surprise for some. Construction jobs have gone down as projects are being delayed in many areas of Davis County, including Clearfield’s “Midtown Village,” which had broken ground in December 2007 and has yet to see a completed building.
Also hurting the county’s economy is the national retail market, which last week reported another decrease in sales over the past month. Last Friday, Mervyns made the announcement that it will be liquidating assets under a current bankruptcy filing.
“The new home construction sector remains extremely weak, with a loss of nearly 15,000 construction jobs during the last year,” said Thredgold. “Other related sectors supporting real estate sales and finance are also recording job eliminations.
“Like the U.S., housing statistics within Utah are at their lowest level since the 1990.”
And although the availability of other jobs has increased since last quarter, the state still has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the nation at 3.8 percent.
Utah’s percentage is more than two percent lower than the national average posted at 6.1 percent in August. It’s the nation’s highest unemployment rate in five years.
One positive is the state’s attractive cost of doing business, population growth, solid work ethic and a pro-business environment that comes from outside sources and into the county.
Small businesses are still forming and have been on the rise in the last three months. With programs like Grow Utah Ventures and SEED (Stimulating the Expansion of Entrepreneurial Development) financially helping entrepreneurs start their business ideas, Davis County has remained one of the strongest counties for growth for several months.
“There are several jobs available that help the economy at the local level,” said Thredgold. “Even though there may not be a job available in one trade, there are others available that may require similar traits from their old job.
“It’s a matter of adjustment for some.”