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AM News Brief: More jobs than workers, Utah Jazz at home & whether the rain is enough

An exterior shot of the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
The Utah Jazz tip off their regular season Wednesday night at Vivint Arena. This story and more in Wednesday morning's news brief.

Wednesday morning, Oct. 20, 2021

State

More jobs than workers in Utah

A new study shows there are more job openings in Utah than there are currently unemployed people. The study for the website CareerCloud looked at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as well as job postings on sites like Indeed and Zip-recruiter. It found that in August, for every person who was seeking unemployment benefits in Utah, there were nearly 1.5 job openings. The study points out that many current openings are for low-paying jobs, and in general people have shifted how they view work since the beginning of the pandemic. — Caroline Ballard

Rain may not mean drought relief

Utah is getting more rain this month than it did last October, but it's too soon to tell if it will make up for the state's ongoing drought. Some areas of Utah currently have precipitation levels that are double or triple the state's average for this time of year. Monica Traphagan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake, said that if the weather stays like this, it could help prevent a drought. "Last year, for example, a really dry year. You come to the spring and you've got the snow melting and coming down," she said. "Because the soils were so dry, a lot of that snowpack was going into our soil instead of going into our water supply." As for this winter, Traphagan said meteorologists are unsure how much precipitation it will bring. — Martha Harris

State could sell off student loan agency

Some potentially big changes are coming to the higher education landscape in Utah. Officials recently voted to sell off the remaining portion of a state agency that services student loans, which they pitched lawmakers on Tuesday as the potential basis for an endowment fund. They said investment returns from the fund could be used to pay for future student scholarships, advising or other services. An upcoming bill would also aim to streamline education services for inmates across the state, who right now have varying degrees of class options based on the facility they’re in. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Utah Jazz begin season at home — with new COVID rules for fans

The Utah Jazz tip off their regular season Wednesday night at Vivint Arena. They will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz are looking to rebound after a disappointing end over the summer. They finished with the NBA’s best record but were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. Utah returns its core players this season — like guard Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert. But for fans, arena requirements will be a little different. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination is required for everyone over the age of 12. Kids under 12 have to wear masks in the arena. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

The high cost of climate change

President Joe Biden's climate plan is a major part of his tax and spending package. But some lawmakers — like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin — say it’s too much money. Meanwhile, environmental economists say climate change could have a much higher price tag. A recent report estimated that it could cost the world about $1.7 trillion a year by the middle of this decade. David Archer, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago, said preventing climate change makes more sense than reacting to its impacts. “One way to frame it might be, how much it costs to avoid putting CO2 in the air versus how much it would cost to clean it out of the air,” he said. A major part of Biden’s climate plan would pay utilities to switch to clean energy sources like wind and solar. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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