IV. Conclusion

The performance of the U.S. economy in the 1990's has been nothing short of astonishing and has been arguably the best decade in U.S. economic history. But, this will slow in the future, as will Wyoming's economy after 2000 to 2008.

Wyoming's Mining sector has played a vital role in the progress of Wyoming's economy in the past. However, future contributions will have less significance on Wyoming's overall economy and employment growth, as the state changes from a goods-producing to a service-producing economy that is indicative of the change going on in the national economy. Employment in the Mining sector is expected to decline 8.2 percent by the year 2008.

The percentage of Construction employment as a share of total employment increased from 5.5 percent to 7.0 percent during the period from 1990 to 1998, due to the increase in federal expenditures in 1999 for highway construction. By percentages, the Construction and Agriculture sectors gained the most, at 43.0 percent and 42.5 percent respectively, followed by services at 32.9 percent from 1990 to 1998.

Depository institution employment lost 572 jobs over the past eight years, and is projected to drop in the future, while employment in other finance sub-sectors is expected to increase. The securities brokerage and dealing sub-sector is the only industry with a six-digit average annual wage ($104,689) and largest percentage gain at 163.8 percent (nearly 12.9% per year) in the past eight years.

Manufacturing makes up only a small part of Wyoming's economy. Over the last nine years, the Manufacturing sector experienced modest gains in employment especially during 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1996. From 1990 to 1998, Wyoming's Manufacturing sector increased by 1,500 jobs; however, 1,200 jobs were added by the way of non-economic code changes. Unlike the nation, Wyoming's Manufacturing sector is projected to remain stable through the year 2008.

Employment in TCPU is forecast to dip to 14,030 in 2001 and continue to decline to approximately 13,810 in 2008. This drop in employment is mainly due to technology replacing labor.

Employment growth in the Wholesale Trade sector in 1998 slowed to 1.0 percent after increasing by 4.2 percent in 1997. Employment totaled 7,770 jobs in 1998. Since 1990, employment in the Wholesale Trade sector has increased by an average of 1.7 percent annually. The growth, however, has tended to occur in spurts, with gains in 1994 and 1997 above 4.0 percent and much lower increases in all other years. For the forecast period, employment in the Wholesale Trade sector is projected to increase by 1.9 percent annually, reaching 9,260 jobs in 2008.

The Retail Trade sector is the third largest sector in Wyoming in terms of employment, with a total of 44,920 jobs in 1998. Growth in the sector was quite high during the early part of the decade, with increases averaging over 3.0 percent from 1990 to 1995. The growth rate began to slow in 1996, and significantly lagged behind the increases in total employment in the state over the past two years, growing by only 0.1 percent in 1997 and by 0.2 percent in 1998.

The Services sector has been a major strength within Wyoming's economy during the 1990's, with an average annual growth rate of 3.6 percent. Although the increases slowed the past three years to 1.3 percent in 1996, 1.9 percent in 1997, and 2.9 percent in 1998, employment growth in the Services sector has consistently been above the increase in total employment. In addition to the second fastest growth rate of the 1990's behind only Construction, the Services sector is the second largest employing sector in Wyoming's economy.

Since 1990, the health services sub-sector has experienced annual average growth of 3.0 percent, except for a small decline in 1996. A large portion of the increase in this sub-sector is related to the aging of the population, and an overall increase in the demand for health care in general. The gains in the business services sub-sector are indicative of the change going on through the national and Wyoming economies as the shift from a goods-producing economy to a service- and information-producing economy continues.

The Services sector is the only sector that is forecast to increase at a rate of more than 2.0 percent. As a result of the highest growth rate in the forecast, the Services sector becomes the largest employing sector within the Wyoming economy in 2005, surpassing the Government sector.

Employment growth in state government has been relatively flat in the 1990's and is expected to decline slightly by the year 2000. Growth in the local and state government sectors is expected to remain flat throughout the forecast period, having an estimated 52,740 jobs by 2008.

Employment in local education continues to grow at a slow but steady rate despite decreasing school enrollments. Student enrollment in primary and secondary schools during 1991 was 98,226 and rose to 100,899 in the 1993-1994 school year. Enrollment has been declining since that time and during the 1998-1999 school year held at 94,420 statewide. It is likely that Wyoming's school enrollments will remain flat over the next few years. Employment in this sector is expected to grow by 1.0 percent per year, rising to 25,800 by 2008. Funding is a stronger driver of employment in education than enrollments.

The population in Wyoming grew over 1.0 percent each year from 1991 to 1994, as the annual net in-migration exceeded 2,000 persons during these years. The state has experienced net out-migration since 1995, increasing to over 2,500 in 1997. Net migration is forecast to be negative each year from 1999 to 2008. This means that the number of people who leave the state is expected to exceed the number of people who move to Wyoming. Out-migration flows slow over the ten-year projection period.

The main group participating in the labor force (ages 25-44) endured a gradual decline from 148,446 in 1990 to 134,480 persons in 1998. This age group is projected to continue to decline through the forecast, but at a decreasing rate. In 2008, the age 25-44 cohort will number 126,560 persons. The population ages 45-64 includes the early post-World War II baby boom. This group posted a remarkable increase of 36.0 percent, making it the most rapidly growing age group from 1990 to 1998. By the year 2008, this age segment is forecast to reach 134,100 persons. This represents an increase of 22.0 percent from the 1998 level. An increasingly older population will greatly impact many areas of our economy, from supply of labor force to demand of health and social services. Slow and steady population growth is expected throughout the ten-year forecast period.

The number of employed persons is expected to increase by 22,560 individuals, and nonagricultural wage and salary employment increases by 27,450 jobs. In other words, the number of nonagricultural wage and salary jobs will grow much faster than the number of employed persons in Wyoming (11.4% compared to 6.3%). This is due to increased commuting into Wyoming and increased multiple job holding. The unemployment rate is expected to rise slowly from 4.6 percent in 1999 to 5.7 percent in 2008.

Contents | Labor Market Information | Economic Analysis Division