Monday, April 4, 2016

How many people are living in your county?

The U.S. Census Bureau releases 2015 county population estimates


By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“They say there are 7 billion people on earth. I don't know what accountant came up with that number, but in my humble opinion, they might have been off by at least a dozen. You see, me and my friends were hiding during the count.” Jarod Kintz 

Although the United States government only counts the population once a decade, the U.S. Census Bureau provides local-level population estimates on an annual basis. These estimates are derived from a variety of data sources such as vital statistics (birth and death counts) and Internal Revenue Service administrative data. While the Census Bureau released statewide population estimates several months ago, county-level figures have just hit the streets. In the visualization below, you can access those figures back through 2010.


Here’s a few nuggets from the 2015 estimates:

  • Wasatch County showed the fastest population growth in Utah at 5.0 percent. 
  • Among the largest counties, Washington County produced the fastest expansion (2.5 percent) with Utah County close on its heels with a 2.4-percent gain. 
  • Utah County showed the highest net migration in Utah (the difference between people moving in and people moving out) with a gain of more than 3,500. 
  • Washington County’s net migration (2,900) registered higher than much-larger Salt Lake County’s figure (2,700). 
  • According to the estimates, eight Utah counties experienced net out-migration; Emery, Carbon and Beaver counties showed the heaviest losses. 
  • Many counties experiencing net out-migration also saw their total population counts decline. Beaver, Emery and Kane counties displayed the largest percent-change drops. 
  • All Utah counties showed positive natural increase (more births than deaths). 
  • Reflecting an older population, Washington County showed fewer births than less-populated Cache County. 
  • Utah County added more than 13,600 residents in 2015, compared to Salt Lake County’s 14,400-person increase. However, Salt Lake County’s population is almost double that of Utah County. 
  • Utah’s most-populated counties hung on to their total population rankings. However, fast-growing Wasatch, Duchesne, Morgan and Juab counties moved up at least a position; while Emery, Sanpete and Carbon counties took a step back.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Are you your own boss? You just might be a self-employed nonemployer!

The Census Bureau’s Nonemployer Statistics series provides insights on Utah’s self-employment 


By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“I love working for myself from home: I get along with everyone in the office; I can show up in pajamas, and I always win Employee of the Month.” Missy Mwac 

Do you run your own business? Do you provide consulting services in the evening hours after your nine-to-five job? Are you an independent contractor? Are you your own boss? If so, you just might be a self-employed nonemployer.

• In 2013, Utah’s nonemployer establishments totaled almost 202,000 with $8.9 billion in receipts.

• Over the past decade, the number of Utah nonemployers has trended upwards with only a decrease during the recessionary year of 2008.

• Real Estate/rentals/leasing and professional/scientific/technical services industries account for the largest shares of Utah nonemployers.

• Real estate/rentals/leasing also generates almost 30 percent of total nonemployer receipts.

• With $83,700 in average receipts in 2013, real estate/rentals and leasing also comes out on top for average receipts per establishment.

• Tourism-related accommodation/food services, arts/entertainment/recreation establishments and other services showed a strong increase in establishments during the recession although their receipts plummeted.

• Several less-populated counties show high nonemployer establishments/nonfarm job ratios. In 2013, Morgan County showed 49 nonemployer establishments per 100 nonfarm jobs.

• While most of the state lost nonemployers during the recession, Duchesne, Morgan and Sanpete counties maintained or expanded their nonemployer establishments.

• Many eastern and central Utah counties (Carbon, Emery, Kane, Millard, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier and Wayne) displayed declines in nonemployer counts in 2013.

Unfortunately, when it comes to analyzing self-employment in Utah, the best source of jobs data, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) is notably lacking. QCEW provides the nonfarm jobs data watched so diligently by Utah Department of Workforce Services economists. (Want to track the business cycle? Just observe the changes in nonfarm employment.) However, the administrative laws that allow the collection of this data series don’t cover a substantial share of self-employment. Therefore, we’re often left with little information on this important labor market sector.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Short-term projections in a long term world

Utah releases new occupational projections

 By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.” John Naisbitt 

• Utah is expected to grow at an annual rate of roughly 3 percent between 2015 and 2017.

• Nearly 77,000 job openings are projected for the state over the next two years.

• Between 2015 and 2017, occupations with already high employment levels are projected to produce the largest number of Utah job openings.

• About 44 percent of new openings should occur to replace workers leaving an occupation.

• Computer and construction occupational groups are expected to show the most rapid expansion.

• Many occupations with high openings are lower-skilled and lower-paying.

Economists at the Utah Department of Workforce Services think our long-term occupational projections are a pretty big deal in the workforce world. They provide guidance for those making career, training or educational decisions. To ensure we keep on a proper projections path, we update them every two years.

In very simplistic terms, these occupational projections result from applying industrial staffing patterns (occupations employed by industry) to industry employment projections. They do not represent business surveys about future expansion. Honestly, that type of survey has quite a poor track record in actually projecting future occupational trends. On the other hand, our projections use research into current staffing trends and replacement activity.

Compared to the long-term projections used for planning, our annual short-term occupational projections are often overlooked. These projections extend out two years as compared to the long-term’s decade-long time frame. While they may not get as much attention as their long-term peer, our short-term projections can provide insights into current and near-future occupational trends.

In line with Utah’s recent economic performance, between 2015 and 2017 total employment is projected to increase at an annual rate of 2.9 percent providing almost 77,000 jobs openings per year. Keep in mind that openings represent both growth and the need to replace individuals who have left a particular occupation. Due to strong projected expansion, the growth openings should account for roughly 56 percent of total openings.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Growing Utah: The Impact of Startup Companies on the Utah Economy

Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” Peter Drucker

• Startup companies, those in existence less than one year, play a major role in Utah’s job creation. In 2013, Utah gave birth to more than 4,700 new firms adding more than 27,000 jobs to the Utah economy.

• New Utah firms have accounted for a smaller and smaller share of created jobs and total employment over time, following a national trend.

• During 1983, startup’s share of job creation peaked at 30 percent compared to 16 percent in 2013.

• The percentage of startup firms with one to four employees has consistently bounced around the 85-percent mark.

• Often during an economic downturn, firms one year and older will show negative “job creation.” Job creation from startup firms helps counteract these job losses.

• Young firms (one to five years old) account for a large share of firms going out of business and employment destruction.

Entrepreneurs — they’re those risk-taking individuals who start new business ventures and thereby fuel economic growth. They are so important to the economy that economists usually include entrepreneurship among the four factors of production. A report on entrepreneurship across states from the U.S. Census Bureau using pre-recession data ranked Utah fifth for the percentage of employment accounted for by young firms. In fact, the Intermountain West seems a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Arizona all topped the U.S. rankings. How do these startup companies spawned by the entrepreneurial spirit impact the Utah economy? The answers can be found using the Census Bureau’s Business Dynamic Statistics (BDS).