SALT LAKE CITY — The number of Utahns who are gainfully employed increased last month.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that the state's nonfarm payroll employment for December 2013 grew by an estimated 1.8 percent, adding 22,500 jobs to the economy compared to December of 2012.

Utah’s current employment level registers at 1,301,600.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by two-tenths of a percent from November to 4.1 percent. There were approximately 57,800 Utahns without jobs last month who were actively seeking work, the report states.

Nationally, the jobless rate declined 0.3 percent to 6.7 percent overall.

The establishment survey estimated a fifth consecutive month of below-average job growth. The report attempts to measure employment across the state in a timely manner, providing an estimate of employment until the full census of employment is processed months later.

The census numbers that are available (up to September 2013) show stronger employment growth in the third quarter of 2013 than was originally estimated, explained Utah Department of Workforce Services chief economist Carrie Mayne.

Nine of the 10 private sector industries posted year-over-year job increases in December. The largest increases were in education and health where each sector gained 7,700 new jobs; trade, transportation and utilities both gained 6,800 jobs; and leisure and hospitality added 3,500 new positions. Conversely, government employment contracted by 5,200 jobs during the same period.


Twitter: JasenLee1