Local Jobs and Payroll in Wyoming: Job Growth Remains Weak in First Quarter 2013
The purpose of this article is to illustrate and describe employment and payroll changes between first quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013. These economic changes help gauge the overall strength of Wyoming’s economy and identify the fastest and slowest growing sectors and geographic areas.
Total unemployment insurance (UI) covered payroll increased by $31.4 million (1.1%) in first quarter 2013. Employment rose by 460 jobs (0.2%) and average weekly wage increased by $7 (0.8%). In first quarter, employment grew slightly faster than its five year average, but total wages and average weekly wage both grew at a slower pace than their five year averages (see Table 1). Job losses in the mining sector (including oil & gas) became deeper (-1,700 jobs, or -6.0%) and overall job growth weakened further. Additionally, employment at temporary help agencies fell by approximately 250 jobs. Temporary employment is often cited nationally as a leading economic indicator, so this decrease may suggest continued weakness in the state’s economy. In terms of dollars, UI covered payroll represents approximately 91.5% of all wage and salary disbursements and 43.8% of personal income in the state (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2013). Analysts have noted that “minerals related employment is one of the key predictors of sales and use tax revenue” in Wyoming (CREG 2010).
Despite the recent growth, overall employment remains approximately 5,700 jobs (2.1%) below its first quarter 2008 level. In short, the state has yet to make up all of the job losses of 2009 and 2010.
Although mining employment fell at the statewide level, it increased 102 jobs (2.6%; see Table 4) in Natrona County. This growth may be related to increased oil & gas activity in neighboring Converse County. Construction employment increased statewide (465 jobs, or 2.5%; see Table 6), in Natrona County (320 jobs, or 12.4%, and in Laramie County (190 jobs, or 7.9%; see Table 5).
The covered payroll and employment data in this article are tabulated by place of work, in contrast to the labor force estimates, which are a measure of employed and unemployed persons by place of residence. Also, the employment data presented in this article represent a count of jobs, not persons. When individuals work more than one job, each job is counted separately. Finally, job growth (or decline) is stated in terms of net change. The Quarterly Turnover Statistics by Industry table presents alternative measures of job gains and losses using the same data sources and calculated to describe the components of change.
Figure 1 shows Wyoming wage & salary employment by covered/non-covered status. Approximately 92% of wage & salary jobs in the state are covered by state unemployment insurance, while 2.6% of jobs are covered by federal unemployment insurance, and 0.9% are covered by unemployment insurance administered by the railroad retirement board. There are several categories of non-covered jobs, and together they account for approximately 5% of wage & salary jobs in the state. Some examples of non-covered employment include elected officials, students working at educational institutions, employees of churches, and workers at small nonprofit organizations.
Figure 2 shows that the level of job growth fell from 2.5% in first quarter 2012 to 0.2% in first quarter 2013, its slowest pace since third quarter 2010. Total payroll growth, which had risen to 4.1% in fourth quarter slowed to 1.1% in first quarter (see Table 2).
Teton County added 415 jobs (2.6%) and its total payroll rose by $21.2 million (13.5%). Large job gains were seen in accommodation & food services (approximately 100 jobs), educational services (approximately 100 jobs), construction (approximately 50 jobs), real estate & rental & leasing (approximately 50 jobs), administrative & waste services (approximately 50 jobs), and professional & technical services (approximately 50 jobs). It appears that the rapid growth in total payroll (13.5%) and average weekly wage (10.7%) was related to bonuses paid in management of companies & enterprises and wholesale trade.
Converse County gained 237 jobs (4.1%) and its total payroll increased by $4.4 million (7.2%). Employment increased in mining (including oil & gas; more than 100 jobs) and transportation & warehousing (nearly 100 jobs).
Carbon County’s employment rose by 174 jobs (2.7%) and its total payroll increased by $3.4 million (5.2%). Construction added 100 jobs, and smaller gains were seen in retail trade and administrative & waste services. Employment fell modestly in accommodation & food services, mining, state government, federal government, and transportation & warehousing.
Fremont County added 123 jobs (0.8%) and its total payroll rose by $1.5 million (1.0%). The largest job gains occurred in local government (including public schools and colleges; more than 100 jobs) and accommodation & food services (more than 100 jobs). Smaller gains were seen in mining, manufacturing, and other services. Employment fell in construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, and professional & technical services.
Sublette County lost 1,011 jobs (-17.6%) and its total payroll fell by $17.1 million (-19.1%). Mining (including oil & gas) lost approximately 650 jobs and construction lost more than 150 jobs. More modest job losses occurred in accommodation & food services, retail trade, and professional & technical services.
Campbell County’s employment fell by 696 jobs (-2.5%) and its total payroll decreased by $16.2 million (-4.1%). Mining posted the largest job losses, falling by more than 450 jobs. Within mining, coal mining lost nearly 400 jobs, and oil & gas employment also decreased. Smaller job losses were seen in construction (more than 150 jobs), other services (more than 100 jobs), wholesale trade (approximately 100 jobs), and transportation & warehousing (approximately 100 jobs). Employment increased in local government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals; approximately 200 jobs).
Uinta County lost 288 jobs (-3.2%) and its total payroll fell by $4.0 million (-4.2%). Job losses affected many different sectors, including construction, administrative & waste services, local government, other services, retail trade, manufacturing, and accommodation & food services.
Sheridan County’s employment fell by 147 jobs (-1.2%) and its total payroll increased very slightly $119,628 (0.1%). Small job losses were seen in many sectors, including mining, construction, retail trade, transportation & warehousing, administrative & waste services, and health care & social assistance.
Natrona County added 1,019 jobs (2.6%; see Table 4) and its total payroll increased by $12.7 million (2.7%). The largest job gains occurred in construction (320 jobs, or 12.4%), accommodation & food services (246 jobs, or 6.7%), health care & social assistance (175 jobs, or 3.2%), and transportation & warehousing (151 jobs, or 13.9%). Job losses were seen in administrative & waste services (-144 jobs, or -10.8%) and manufacturing (-102 jobs, or -5.5%).
Laramie County’s employment rose by 636 jobs (1.5%; see Table 5) and its total payroll increased by $21.8 million (5.0%). Strong growth was seen in construction (190 jobs, or 7.9%), other services (112 jobs, or 0.8%), arts, entertainment & recreation (103 jobs, or 2.6%), retail trade (95 jobs, or 1.8%), and state government (80 jobs, or 1.1%). Employment fell in administrative & waste services (-46 jobs, or -3.0%) and professional & technical services (-38 jobs, or -2.3%).
and Wages by Industry
The largest job gains occurred in accommodation & food services, construction, local government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals), real estate & rental & leasing, and health care & social assistance (see Table 6). Employment decreased in mining (including oil & gas), administrative & waste services, other services, and information.
Accommodation & food services added 594 jobs (2.1%) and its total payroll rose by $15.7 million (12.6%). Nearly all the job gains occurred in food services & drinking places.
Construction employment rose by 465 jobs (2.5%) and its total payroll increased by $12.6 million (6.0%). Heavy & civil engineering construction lost approximately 200 jobs, while specialty trade contractors added approximately 600 jobs.
Employment in local government increased by 455 jobs (1.0%) and its total payroll rose by $8.8 million (1.9%). Hospitals added 268 jobs (4.0%) while local government education (including school districts and community colleges) added 23 jobs (0.1%).
Real estate & rental & leasing added 219 jobs (5.6%) and its total payroll grew by $5.5 million (13.4%). Most of the job gains occurred in rental & leasing services (approximately 150 jobs), while real estate employment grew by more than 50 jobs.
Health care & social assistance employment grew by 218 jobs (0.9%) and its total payroll rose by $2.9 million (1.3%). Ambulatory health care services added 192 jobs (2.1%) and social assistance added 139 jobs (2.1%). Job losses were seen in private hospitals (-84 jobs, or -2.7%) and nursing & residential care facilities (-29 jobs, or -0.6%).
Mining employment fell by 1,700 jobs (-6.0%) and total payroll decreased by $39.3 million (-6.4%). Large job losses were seen in support activities for mining (including oil & gas well drilling and support activities for oil & gas; down more than 1,400 jobs). Coal mining employment fell by more than 300 jobs.
Administrative & waste services lost 435 jobs (-6.1%) and its total payroll fell by $4.1 million (-7.6%). Employment fell by more than 250 jobs in temporary help services and smaller job losses were seen in office administrative services, business support services, and waste management & remediation services. Job losses at temporary help agencies might suggest weak job growth in coming quarters.
Employment in other services fell by 160 jobs (-1.9%) and its total payroll decreased by $1.4 million (-2.0%). Job losses were seen in repair & maintenance, membership associations & organizations, and private households.
Information lost 109 jobs (-2.8%) and its total payroll fell by $0.7 million (-1.7%). Employment fell slightly in publishing, motion picture & sound recording, broadcasting, and telecommunications.
In summary, job losses in oil & gas continued in first quarter, causing overall job growth to remain very weak. There were wide variations in economic conditions across the state’s 23 counties. Carbon, Converse, Natrona, and Teton counties all saw solid job growth while large job losses were noted in Sublette, Campbell, and Uinta counties.
Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG; 2010, October) Wyoming state government revenue forecast fiscal year 2011-fiscal year 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2011 from http://eadiv.state.wy.us/creg/GreenCREG_Oct10.pdf
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (2013, January 16). SA04 State income and employment summary. Retrieved January 16, 2013, from http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=70&step=1&isuri=1&acrdn=4
David Bullard can be reached at email@example.com.