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Southwest Utah’s low unemployment to drive wages higher?

Good economic news often begets more good economic news. Here in southwest Utah, our unemployment rate has been slowly dropping over the past few years. A senior economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services says most counties in this part of the state have recently experienced job creation and unemployment drops.

She said the downward pressure on unemployment might soon translate to good news for new hires, who might well see their wages rise in coming months.

Washington County residents probably saw recent news reports showing that unemployment here is down to 3.8 percent, its lowest level in a half-dozen years.

The economist said a rise in wages is often first detected among new hires. Their wages rise and fall more rapidly than average wages across a marketplace and are an early signal of bettering or worsening business conditions. When the economy turned downward a few years ago, the average wage of new hires reflected that, she said.

And in the hot business cycle that preceded the downturn, average new-hire wages accelerated quickly.

When the downturn hit our area, those wages dropped more rapidly, too – plummeting 9 percent, compared to the 3 percent drop in the average wage for all workers.

Right now, she said, the southwest Utah labor market is near “full employment” and that wages should be rising in the near future. 

If her prediction is accurate, even more good economic news should be headed our way in the form of expanding business operations in the St. George area and newly arriving entrepreneurs who will launch companies. An experienced business attorney can help make secure your investments, intellectual property and hard work.   

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