© Copyright 2002 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning
Covered Employment and Wages for First Quarter 2002
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
tables by: Nancy Brennan, Economist
"Employment increased in 18 of Wyoming's 23 counties during first quarter."
Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered employment1 increased by 3,969 jobs or 1.8 percent during the first quarter of 2002 compared to first quarter 2001. First quarter’s employment increase is significantly lower than the five-year average growth of 2.3 percent, signaling a slowdown in job growth in Wyoming (see
Table 1). Reviewing the months of January, February, and March separately provides further evidence of an economic slowdown. In January 2002, employment was 1.9 percent higher than January 2001, a difference of 4,230 jobs. February 2002 employment was 1.6 percent higher than February 2001. By March 2002, employment growth (measured on an over-the-year basis) had fallen to 1.1 percent (a gain of 2,515 jobs). Perhaps the largest single industry contributing to the slowdown between January and March was oil & gas extraction. In January 2002, this industry boasted 1,300 more jobs than a year earlier, but by March, the over-the-year job gains had fallen to less than 100.
Total payroll increased by 6.6 percent, slightly above the five-year average of 6.3 percent. Average weekly wage increased by $25 or 4.8 percent, well above its five-year average of 3.9 percent.
Statewide Employment and Wages by Industry
Table 2 shows that Mining, Construction, Services, and Local Government created the largest number of jobs in first quarter. Mining added 1,237 jobs or 6.9 percent as a result of strong gains in oil & gas extraction and coal mining. Employment was down slightly in other areas of Mining (metal mining and nonmetallic mineral mining). Gas plant construction helped push employment in the Construction industry up by 1,158 jobs or 7.7 percent. Services gained 922 jobs or 1.8 percent, including 200 jobs in miscellaneous repair services, 300 jobs in health services, 300 jobs in private social services, and 200 jobs in engineering & management services. Local Government grew by 679 jobs or 1.8 percent. Job gains in local hospitals (200 jobs) and educational services (100 jobs) helped increase Local Government employment during first quarter.
Wholesale Trade grew significantly during first quarter, adding 238 jobs or 3.1 percent, part of which was due to a “non-economic code change.” A firm that was previously classified in Manufacturing was reclassified into Wholesale Trade.2
Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate (FIRE) added 387 jobs or 4.9 percent in first quarter including 100 jobs in depository institutions.
Manufacturing and Retail Trade both lost jobs when compared with first quarter 2001. Manufacturing employment decreased by 944 jobs or 8.4 percent because of job losses in food processing; printing & publishing; chemicals; petroleum refining; primary metals; and industrial & commercial machinery & computer equipment. Manufacturing employment also fell because of the reclassification of firms into other industries, such as Wholesale Trade. Retail Trade lost 349 jobs or 0.8 percent as a result of significant job losses in food stores, general merchandise stores, gasoline service stations, and miscellaneous retailers. However, employment grew in building materials & garden supply stores.
Average weekly wage increased $25 or 4.8 percent. The largest growth in average weekly wage occurred in State Government with a gain of $61 per week or 10.0 percent. The wage increase was the result of market pay increases implemented by the legislature. Average weekly wages in Mining and Construction increased by $38 (3.7%) and $27 (4.9%), respectively.
Employment and Wages by County
As shown in Table 3, employment increased in 18 of Wyoming’s 23 counties during first quarter. Campbell County was the fastest growing area of the state, adding 1,755 jobs or 9.4 percent. About half of the job gains in Campbell County were in Mining (including oil & gas extraction). Employment in Construction; Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities (TCPU); and Services also grew rapidly.
Fremont County grew by 720 jobs or 5.3 percent during first quarter. A large part of this increase was Construction employment related to a new gas plant.
Sweetwater County lost 383 jobs or 2.1 percent during first quarter. Job losses were seen in Mining (including oil & gas), Construction, Manufacturing, and Retail Trade.
Natrona County gained 209 jobs or 0.7 percent. Job gains in Construction, Services, and Government were partially offset by losses in Mining and Manufacturing.
Employment fell in Teton County by 668 jobs or 4.3 percent during first quarter 2002. Modest gains in TCPU, FIRE, and Agriculture were not enough to offset job losses in Construction, Retail Trade, and Services. Within Services, job losses appear concentrated in tourist-related industries such as amusement & recreation services. These job losses may be related to a decrease in travel because of the events of September 11, 2001.
Laramie County employment increased by 289 jobs or 0.8 percent during first quarter 2002. Manufacturing and TCPU each fell by about 100 jobs while significant job gains were seen in Construction, Services, and State Government.
Average weekly wage increased in all but four Wyoming counties. Campbell County had the largest increase in average weekly wage with a gain of $62 or 9.5 percent.
More detailed tables on first quarter covered employment and wages are located on our Internet site site at: <http://LMI.state.wy.us/02Q1_202/toc.htm>
1Approximately 85-90 percent of all workers in Wyoming are covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI). Some exceptions include the self-employed and many agricultural workers.
2Each year during the refiling survey, approximately one-third of the employers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Wyoming are contacted to confirm that they have been assigned the correct Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. If it is found that an employer has changed primary business activity, a new SIC code is assigned to reflect that change.
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