© Copyright 2006 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning
Vol. 43 No. 5
During 2005, economic growth accelerated in Wyoming. Rapid employment gains in the state’s Natural Resources & Mining industry (which includes oil & gas) pushed total job growth to 3.0%, its highest level since 1994. The statewide annual average unemployment rate decreased from 3.9% in 2004 to 3.6% in 2005. The percentage of Wyoming’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over that was employed (employment to population ratio) increased from 67.7% in 2003 to 68.1% in 2004 and 68.6% in 2005. This percentage remained well above the U.S. average in all three years (62.3% in 2003 and 2004, and 62.7% in 2005). Together, the decreasing unemployment rate and increasing employment to population ratio suggest a tightening in Wyoming’s labor market. The state’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over grew by 1.5% in 2004 and 1.3% in 2005.
Current Employment Statistics
Wyoming total nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased from an annual average of 255,400 jobs in 2004 to 263,000 jobs in 2005 (see Table 1 and Table 2). This represents an increase of 7,600 jobs or 3.0%. Job growth was widespread. Some of the fastest growing industries between 2004 and 2005 were Natural Resources & Mining (2,500 jobs or 12.4%), Construction (1,200 jobs or 6.3%), Wholesale Trade (400 jobs or 5.5%), and Transportation, Warehousing, & Utilities (600 jobs or 5.0%). More modest gains occurred in Manufacturing (300 jobs or 3.2%), Retail Trade (300 jobs or 1.0%), Professional & Business Services (500 jobs or 3.3%), Educational & Health Services (400 jobs or 1.9%), Leisure & Hospitality (600 jobs or 1.9%), and Government (700 jobs or 1.1%).
Job losses affected only a few industries including gasoline stations (-100 jobs or -2.4%), Administrative & Support & Waste Services (-100 jobs or -1.4%), Federal Government (-200 jobs or -2.6%), and State Government (-100 jobs or -0.6%). Employment was unchanged in Other Services and Information.
In Natrona County, employment increased by 1,000 jobs or 2.8% from 2004 to 2005 (see Table 3 and Table 4). Reflecting the statewide trend, Natural Resources & Mining gained 500 jobs (16.7%) and Manufacturing gained 200 (12.5%). Employment growth also was seen in Wholesale Trade (100 jobs or 4.3%), Retail Trade (100 jobs or 2.1%), Educational & Health Services (100 jobs or 2.2%), and Leisure & Hospitality (100 jobs or 2.9%). Employment fell by 100 jobs (-3.4%) in Professional & Business Services.
On an annual average basis, Laramie County employment grew by 800 jobs (2.0%) from 2004 to 2005 (see Table 5 and Table 6). Employment growth occurred in many sectors including Natural Resources, Mining, & Construction (100 jobs or 3.7%), Wholesale Trade (100 jobs or 14.3%), Retail Trade (100 jobs or 1.8%), Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (100 jobs or 4.2%), and Educational & Health Services (100 jobs or 3.1%). Government (including public schools and hospitals) added 400 jobs or 3.2%. Professional & Business Services was the only industry that lost jobs (-100 jobs or -3.0%) from 2004 to 2005.
Local Area Unemployment Statistics
The statewide annual average unemployment rate fell from 4.4% in 2003 to 3.9% in 2004 and to 3.6% in 2005 (see Table 7). Most of the counties followed a similar pattern of decreasing unemployment. From 2004 to 2005, the unemployment rate decreased in 17 counties, was unchanged in 4 (Johnson, Lincoln, Niobrara, and Washakie), and increased in 2 (Goshen and Hot Springs). The largest decreases in the unemployment rate occurred in Campbell, Carbon, Crook, Sublette, and Uinta counties (all decreased by 0.5 percentage points).
At the statewide level, labor force (the sum of employed and unemployed individuals) increased at a healthy pace (up 5,064 people or 1.8% in 2005). Most counties saw a growing labor force in 2005. The few exceptions were Albany, Goshen, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Niobrara, and Platte counties. Four of those six counties are located in the southeast part of the state and have little oil & gas development. Workers from these areas may be migrating to other, faster-growing areas of the state.