Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Moving on or putting down roots?

Where Utahns were born and where they live now  

by Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Men and women are limited not by the place of their birth, not by the color of their skin, but by the size of their hope.” John Harold Johnson

Do you live in the state of your birth? According to American Community Survey data, the answer to that question is influenced both by your birthplace and your current place of residence.

We love Utah 
According to 2014 tabulations, 62 percent of Utah’s population was born here in the Beehive State. While Utah doesn’t rank in the top tier of states with the highest shares of birthplace-residing individuals, it is unusual in the mobile West. Utah is surrounded by states with relatively low shares of birthplace-residing populations. In fact, neighboring Nevada sports the lowest share in the nation with only 26 percent of present residents indicating they were born in the state. Utah’s cultural preference for close family ties undoubtedly plays a role in its higher-than-average western ranking.

Most states with high percentages of populations born in their current state of residence are located in the geographic center of the United States. In Louisiana, almost 78 percent of the population was born in-state. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also showed shares greater than 73 percent.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Utah's Agricultural Employment – The Census of Agriculture Gives a More Complete Picture

Farming, (or more generally, agriculture) is obviously an important part of the economy, so why is that when you hear employment statistics reported in the news, you typically hear them reported as “nonfarm” employment?

“Nonfarm payroll employment” is terminology from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and the term is slightly misleading. There is, in fact, some data on agricultural employment in the QCEW data that's typically reported in the news, it’s just not complete. 

QCEW employment data are based on administrative records from employers who pay into the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, so workers not covered under UI laws are not captured. Agricultural employers are generally exempt from the requirements for UI coverage, so the data are simply not comprehensive enough to calculate reliable estimates. Furthermore, many agricultural operations are sole-proprietorships that are also exempt from UI coverage (whether in agriculture or not), so those individuals are not recorded either.

All of this comes down to the fact that the typical “nonfarm” employment statistics you hear about in the news, on average, do not include roughly 90 percent of Utah’s agricultural employment. In 2012, QCEW reported fewer than 5,000 employees in “Covered Agriculture,” for the whole state, which represented less than one half of one percent of Utah’s total employment.

Fortunately, the Census of Agriculture, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture once every five years, gives a revealing picture of the agricultural sector. The most recent data, covering 2012, were released last May. The Agricultural Census surveys all of those UI-exempt farms that the QCEW misses and found that there were actually about 47,000 jobs in agriculture in 2012 — more than 3.5 percent of Utah’s total employment.

For information on agricultural employment in your region click on the relevant tab/s at the top of the blog. In addition to the employment data, each regional blog contains an "Agricultural Profile" displaying information on farms, land use, agricultural production, and other characteristics.

Utah's Agricultural Profile

By Matt Schroeder, Regional Economist

The visualization above uses data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture to profile the agricultural activity of Utah. You can adjust the filter to view individual counties or groups of counties as well as change the year to 2007 to see how things have changed since the last Census of Agriculture. To view the profile of the whole state, select only “Statewide."

As a whole, Utah had more than 18,000 farms and nearly 11 million acres of farmland in 2012. The bar chart in the center suggests that of those farms, more than 10,000, or about 58 percent, were very small farms with less than 50 acres.

Despite the small farm sizes, roughly 21 percent, or 11 million acres, of Utah’s 53 million acres of land were used for agriculture. The pie chart at the bottom-left shows that about 8.6 million acres of that are pasture and rangeland while only about 1.6 million acres are cropland.

In terms of value, Utah’s agricultural sales amounted to more than $1.8 billion in 2012. The second pie chart, at the bottom-right, shows the relative importance of livestock in Utah's agricultural production. Cattle, milk, and hogs accounted for between 16 and 20 percent of total sales each, while the largest value of crop production came from hay - again highlighting the importance of livestock.

Select other counties from the filter to see the agricultural activity of the areas you are interested in, and visit the regional blogs, using the tabs at the top, to read analysis about your area.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gross Domestic Product and Metropolitan Statistical Areas

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. . . It (Gross National Product) measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” Robert Kennedy

While Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may not measure everything, it certainly remains our most comprehensive measure of economic activity. If you have forgotten that Econ 101 course, GDP represents the market value of all goods and services produced in a given time period.

In recent years, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has upped its game by publishing GDP estimates for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The most recent set of estimates (which includes preliminary 2014 data) just hit the streets last week. These estimates have been adjusted for inflation and therefore have been dubbed “real” GDP.

While the information is somewhat dated when compared to jobs data, it provides an additional analytical tool in our study of local-area economics. The data visualization which accompanies this post also includes detailed industry-level estimates for all U.S. MSAs (see tabs).

What do the data show for Utah’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas?