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Utah unemployment better in May than April, but still down

FILE - In this March 27, 2020, file photo, cashier Baby San wears a face shield and gloves as she scans items at grocery store (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Department of Workforce service says that Utah’s non-farm payroll employment is down again in May with a reported contraction of 4.8%, but looks better than April’s dip of 7.3%.

Utah’s current unemployment rate is estimated to be about 8.5% which is lower than the national average of 13.3%

Out of the 75,400 jobs that have been lost due to the coronavirus, the DWS says that most of those reductions in the workforce are part of furloughs, meaning that most employees that have been laid off are expecting to return to their jobs when the economy improves.

“May’s employment improvement marks April as the low point in the COVID-19 economic setback,” reported Mark Knold, Chief Economist at the Department of Workforce Services. “We expect May to be the largest single month for job improvement with the initial return to work for many employees as consumer activity greatly increased. With the May job improvement, nearly one-quarter of Utah’s COVID-idled workers have returned to work.”

According to the numbers reported by the DWS, two of the ten job sectors they measure saw job gains. Those services include construction, which saw a net increase of 8,000 jobs, and financial activities which saw an increase of 500 jobs. 

The other eight measured sectors saw losses. The biggest of which was seen in the leisure and hospitality sector which lost 42,000 jobs.