Park City-area unemployment rate drops to lowest level of coronavirus era
The number highlights an extraordinary economic comeback in the community
The unemployment rate in Summit County in April dropped to the lowest level since the fall of 2019, prior to the economic upheaval caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus that sent joblessness soaring a year ago.
The Utah Department of Workforce Services reported the rate in Summit County in April fell to 2.6%. It was the lowest since the 2.4% recorded in October of 2019. The Park City area at that time was enjoying a strong economy in the months before the pandemic struck.
The 2.6% rate highlights an extraordinary economic comeback in the Park City area since the shutdowns in the spring of 2020 designed to curb the spread of the illness. The rate spiked in April of 2020 shortly after the sickness forced an early end to the 2019-2020 ski season, reaching 21.4% that month. The number has dropped consistently over the 12-month period since then.
The Park City-area economy performed solidly starting in the summer of 2020 and continued to outperform expectations through the ski season. The economic numbers convinced businesses to increase staffing levels, leading to the improvements in the unemployment rate.
The 2.6% rate in April dropped from a downwardly revised 3.2% in March. The initial reading for March put the figure at 4.8%.
The improvement in April is also noteworthy since that month is usually one of the slowest of the year for the Park City-area economy as the mountain resorts end the ski season and some businesses temporarily close with the community entering the spring shoulder season.
The rate in April was similar to historic periods when Park City’s economy was especially hot. The 2.6% rate, as an example, is in the same range as the monthly figures in 2007 and early 2008, prior to the convulsions in the economy later in 2008.
It is not clear what sort of further improvements could be expected through the remainder of 2021 with the rate already so low.
Park City’s economy during the pandemic proved resilient after the initial shock. The area’s outdoors were a draw as people saw hiking and bicycling in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter as activities that could be enjoyed safely amid the spread of the sickness.
The unemployment rate in Wasatch County in April was 2.5%, down from 2.9% the month before and dramatically better than the 17.7% in April of 2020. The rate in Wasatch County is notable since the Park City sphere of economic influence stretches into the neighboring county.
Approximately 77% of Utahns live in a child care desert, according to the Center for American Progress.
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