Park City-area unemployment rate appears stuck at elevated figure |

Park City-area unemployment rate appears stuck at elevated figure

Business in the Park City area in February appeared to be solid, leading to backups on roads like Park Avenue, shown, on some days that month. The unemployment rate in Summit County in February stood at 5.5%.
Park Record file photo

The unemployment rate in Summit County in February stood at 5.5%, according to the state Department of Workforce Services, even with a slightly downwardly revised number in January and up slightly from the previous February.

The figure points to a continuing leveling of the rate during a key month of the ski season. February appeared to be a solid economic month in Park City as skiers and snowboarders arrived amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. Any uptick in tourism, though, did not lead to hiring in significant numbers in February, the rate shows.

The rate in the previous February was 5.2%. It seems likely a jump between January and February of 2020 was influenced by early concerns about the pandemic in the month before the sickness forced a premature end to the 2019-2020 ski season, sending the unemployment rate soaring that spring.

The rate in February of 2021 kept the number in the same tight range it has been in since the fall. The tight range shows a lack of a major run on hirings as the ski season approached and then through the middle of the winter.

It is not clear what sort of gains can be expected in coming months as the ski season ends and Park City moves into the spring shoulder season, when business is typically at its lowest point of the year.

The employment comeback from the early months of the pandemic has been strong nonetheless. The rate hit a staggering 21.4% in April of 2020, just weeks after concern about the coronavirus shuttered a wide swath of the economy in Park City and surrounding Summit County.

The unemployment rate in Wasatch County in February was 4.2%, down from the 4.4% the previous month. The rate in the neighboring county is of note since the Park City sphere of economic influence stretches well into Wasatch County.

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