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September unemployment rate rises in Utah, but with signs of recovery

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Workforce Services reports that while the state’s unemployment rate may have gone up, the state is seeing good signs of recovery.

During the month of September, the Department of Workforce Services says approximately 82,800 Utahns were unemployed. That number brought the statewide seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate to 5%, up from August’s 4.1%.

Spokesman Nate McDonald said the reason behind this latest increase is “not necessarily for a bad reason.”

“What we saw in the numbers is that Utah’s labor participation rate actually jumped up a percentage point,” McDonald told Utah’s Morning News. 



“What that means is that more people entered into our labor force meaning that they were actively seeking work, which is a positive sign. That means they are having more confidence in the economy and there’s more opportunities out there for them,” he said.

utah unemployment rate

Graphic from Utah Department of Workforce Services via

McDonald says that seeing a jump in the labor participation rate could account for the increase in the Utah unemployment rate because those actively seeking jobs now count, when they did not before. 

He says that in comparison, the national labor participation rate is dropping while Utah’s is increasing.

In the September report, the department also saw net increases in four of 10 job sectors. Construction, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, Other Services, and Financial Activities all saw net increases.