Park City-area unemployment rate levels out, signaling halt in gains |

Park City-area unemployment rate levels out, signaling halt in gains

The year-over-year numbers remain elevated in Summit County

Shoppers stroll Main Street during June.
Park Record file photo

The unemployment rate in Summit County in November was 6.8%, unchanged from an upwardly revised figure in October as well as from the number in September, the state Department of Workforce Services reported.

The leveling out of the rate in September, October and November points to a halt in the significant gains made in the job market in the summer.

The unemployment rate spiked in the spring, reaching a staggering 20.4% in April, following the early end to the ski season to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The rate dropped quickly as businesses began to reopen from the spring shutdowns, but the pace of the improvement declined before the leveling out in recent months.

The rate in November of 2019 in Summit County was 2.3%.

The timing of the leveling out at 6.8% is notable since September, October and November are key hiring months prior to the ski season. It seems likely much of the ski season hiring was reflected in the numbers by the time of the November report since Park City Mountain Resort opened that month and Deer Valley Resort followed in early December.

It is unclear what sort of numbers can be expected starting with the December reading and then through the ski season. There have been anecdotal reports of solid business during the early weeks of the ski season and the holidays, but it is not known whether the sales numbers hit levels that would have influenced business owners to hire additional workers.

The organizers of the Sundance Film Festival, usually an important employment driver, meanwhile, have canceled all live events in Park City. There could be broad repercussions for the job market since there is usually a surge of positions available in sectors like lodging, transportation and restaurant during Sundance.

The unemployment rate in Wasatch County in November was 6%, even with the October number. The unemployment rate in Wasatch County is notable in Summit County since the Park City sphere of economic influence extends into the neighboring county.

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