With less than a month to go before the election, I want to ensure we all understand the employment picture more clearly, both nationally and here in Utah, and encourage each one of us to get involved in the election process to make sure our voices are heard by the candidates.
The national unemployment rate dropping from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September is good news. But looking closer at the total unemployment picture, we find that only 114,000 jobs were created in September, while the number of those actively seeking employment dropped to 456,000; that represents at least 340,000 active job seekers who stopped looking for work without having a job. At this point in time, there are still more than 12 million people unemployed in our nation.
In Utah, the numbers are similar but a little better. As of the August report, our unemployment rate is at 5.8 percent with 78,746 people unemployed and actively looking for work. In comparison, the number of unemployed in March 2008 was 41,392. We reached a high in March 2010 with 112,135 people unemployed in Utah, with an unemployment rate of higher than 8 percent.
What this all means is we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of jobs for all those who desire to work. Recent reports from many business owners indicate that those businesses are not hiring because of the uncertainty in the economy and the worry of higher taxes.
While I want to remain politically neutral in this column, I will say, with strong conviction, that job creation must be one of the top goals of all our political leaders after the election -- every single leader, from the local mayor to our president.
Specifically, the manufacturing sector of our economy in Utah grew by 3,600 new jobs during the past 12 months. The natural resources and mining sector, mostly in the Uintah Basin, is the fastest growing sector of our economy. The next fastest, not surprisingly, is the information sector. The sector of our economy that added the most jobs in the past 12 months was the professional and business services sector, with more than 7,200 new jobs.
While this represents positive job growth, there is little doubt that more jobs are needed. I strongly encourage each one of us to make our voices heard with all our political candidates regarding the importance of job creation.
A simple phone call or an email to election headquarters of our political candidates can be a powerful way to ensure our voices are heard. From local elections, to state and national elections, candidates need to hear from us to ensure they will make job creation a top priority, especially if they are elected.
Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.