While the number of jobs in Tooele County grew during the Great Recession, that number began to contract in 2012, state figures show.
At the same time, new gains were made in some job sectors and remaining local workers saw a bump in annual income.
According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, there were 15,432 jobs in the county during 2013. That is 382 less than during 2012.
Yet despite the reduction, 2013’s job count is 677 (4.6 percent) more than what the county had in 2006, which economists consider to be the year before the Great Recession began.
The overall contraction in the last two years has been lead by a few major employer groups at which the number of job losses outpaced growth in other sectors, according Jim Robson, regional economist for DWS.
“Tooele County has experienced its own job recession in the last two years,” he said. “It’s largely due to losses of jobs in the government and waste management industries.”
When grouped by industry sector, there was a total of 235 job gains and 617 job losses, for a net loss of 382 jobs in 2013.
The number of jobs in Tooele County in 2012 dropped to 15,814, a loss of 165 jobs or a 1.0 percent drop.
In 2013 the number of jobs in Tooele County dropped again, this time to 15,432, a loss of 382 jobs or a 2.4 percent decline.
Leading the loss in jobs in 2013 was the government sector where federal employment, including civilian contractors, declined by 221 workers. Local governments also shed a total of 168 workers in 2013.
Job losses in the government sector for 2013 were largely the result of Deseret Chemical Depot closing, and layoffs at Tooele County, according to Robson.
The private sector with the largest job loss was the professional and business services sector, which saw a loss of 185 workers, or a loss of 7.7 percent in 2013.
This sector includes some of the county’s largest employers such as URS, EnergySolutions, Clean Harbors, and C. Martin Company.
While DWS does not report employment numbers by individual employers, it has been reported that URS began its scheduled reduction in force due to the closure of DCD in 2012 and continued planned downsizing through 2013.
EnergySolutions also reported the layoff of around 100 employees during the time period between October 2012 and January 2013.
Other sectors with a net job loss in 2013 included the information sector with 28 job losses, the financial activities sector with eight net job losses, and educational, health and social services with a net loss of five jobs.
But while there were declines in some sectors, others made gains. Leading the way in job growth was the leisure and hospitality sector with a net gain of 115 jobs in 2013.
Miller Motorsports Park is the largest employer in this sector, which also includes restaurants, hotels and golf courses.
The trade, transportation, and utilities sector, including wholesale and retail merchandising, along with warehousing, posted an increase of 51 jobs in Tooele County during 2013.
The construction industry added 48 jobs in the county during 2013 for a 4.8 percent increase.
While the number of jobs in Tooele County decreased in 2013, the average monthly salary for the remaining workers in the county increased from $3,545 to $3,636, an increase of $93 per month or a 2.6 percent increase.
The projections of annual job openings for 2010 through 2020 for the Wasatch Front South region, which includes Tooele and Salt Lake counties, showed that the largest annual job openings in the two counties are expected to be in customer service representatives, retail sales, cashiers, and the food service industry.
While these jobs tend to pay less than other jobs, they also have a high turnover rate and comprise a larger percentage of the total job market, Robson said.
These two factors combine to create a large amount of annual job openings, he added.
Robson also pointed out that the DWS Utah Job Outlook report for the Wasatch Front South region lists over 70 occupations from 2010 through 2020 with a five-star rating for strong employment outlook and high wages.
Annual wages for the five-star jobs along the Wasatch Front South region range from physicians with an average annual wage of $168,600 to operating engineers with an annual average salary of $47,100.
“There is no reason to expect that job growth in the region will not be equally distributed among both ends of the wage scale,” Robson said.