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PM News Brief: Historically low unemployment, renaming natural areas & UTA grant

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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday that it’s awarding the Utah Transit Authority a $950,000 grant. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Nov. 19, 2021

State

Utah unemployment rate at lowest ever recorded

Utah continues to outperform the country when it comes to its unemployment rate. That’s according to data released Friday by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. For the month of October, Utah’s rate was just 2.2%. That is the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded here. For the U.S. it was 4.6%. Over the past two years, employment in Utah has actually grown by nearly 4%. That’s an increase of more than 58,000 jobs. — Ross Terrell

Northern/Central Utah

Dealing with methane leaks in Uinta Basin 

Oil and gas production has gone down in Utah’s Uinta Basin over the past five years, but new research shows methane leaks have remained steady and high. Usually when oil and gas production declines, methane leaks increase, however in the Uinta Basin they’ve remained constant. Researchers said having high methane leaks is not a great thing, but because they remained constant that may mean companies are doing a better job of controlling emissions. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done in addressing gas seeping out. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery

BYU students push back against Provo proposal for paid parking 

The Provo City Council held a town hall meeting Thursday night to get feedback on the city's paid parking proposal. Provo is considering creating paid parking zones in the Joaquin neighborhood — an area where many BYU students live. Gavin Thornberg goes to BYU and asked the council why the plan was still going forward since 80% of residents in the area said no. Still, a handful of people at the meeting were in favor of the proposal. City council members said they still need more information. — Martha Harris

Utah Transit Authority received federal grant  

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday that it’s awarding the Utah Transit Authority a $950,000 grant. UTA will use the funding to study public transit between the University of Utah Research Park and the west side of Salt Lake City’s central business district. It will also look at alternative options. The money comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, program. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Interior secretary makes push to eradicate derogatory names

There’s a new federal effort to rename natural areas that bear racist and offensive titles. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is creating a task force to review and rename areas on federal lands. Efforts have already been underway to do this but the process often moves slow and is sometimes stalled when local officials push back. Haaland’s announcement reflects a new and concerted focus meant to speed up the process. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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