© Copyright 2003 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Covered Employment and Wages for Second Quarter 2002

by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
tables by: Nancy Brennan, Economist

"Gas plant construction helped push employment in the Construction sector up by 699 jobs or 3.5 percent."

Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered employment1 increased by 2,236 jobs or 0.9 percent during the second quarter of 2002 compared to second quarter 2001. Second quarter’s employment increase is significantly lower than the five-year average growth of 2.0 percent signaling a slowdown in job growth in Wyoming (see Table 1). Job losses occurred primarily in three sectors: Mining (especially support activities for mining), Manufacturing, and Retail Trade. This overall slowdown in job growth and job losses in these industries has been seen in the Wyoming Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment data for several months (see Table). Total payroll increased by 4.7 percent, which is below the five-year average of 6.1 percent. Average weekly wage increased by $20 or 3.8 percent, slightly below its five-year average of 4.0 percent.

Statewide Employment and Wages by Sector

Each 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 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. If it is found that an employer has changed primary business activity, a new NAICS code is assigned to reflect that change. Employers’ NAICS codes are also reviewed if the business is sold, incorporated, or otherwise changes ownership. In this manner, Research & Planning continuously ensures that employers are assigned to the correct industry category. However, such changes also make direct comparisons across years difficult, as large employers may have moved to another sector.

Table 2 shows that Accommodation & Food Services, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Construction created the largest number of jobs in second quarter. Accommodation & Food Services gained 1,249 jobs or 4.6 percent, although part of this increase was due to a “non-economic code change.” A firm that was previously classified in Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation (NAICS 71) was reclassified into Accommodation & Food Services (NAICS 72). Health Care & Social Assistance grew by 717 jobs or 4.1 percent during second quarter. Strong gains were seen in ambulatory health care services (300 jobs), nursing & residential care facilities (100 jobs), and social assistance (200 jobs). Gas plant construction helped push employment in the Construction sector up by 699 jobs or 3.5 percent.

Wholesale Trade grew significantly during second quarter, adding 204 jobs or 3.0 percent, part of which was related to the reclassification of a firm from Manufacturing to Wholesale Trade.

Finance & Insurance added 455 jobs or 7.5 percent in second quarter. A significant part of this increase is due to code changes and does not reflect an actual increase in the number of jobs. However, real employment increases were seen in the finance sector.

Manufacturing and Retail Trade both lost jobs when compared with second quarter 2001. Manufacturing employment decreased by 574 jobs or 5.8 percent because of job losses in many subsectors, especially chemical manufacturing. Manufacturing employment also fell because of the reclassification of firms into other sectors, such as Wholesale Trade. Retail Trade lost 529 jobs or 1.7 percent as a result of significant job losses in food & beverage stores, gasoline stations, and general merchandise stores. However, employment grew rapidly in building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers (250 jobs).

Mining employment fell by 186 jobs or 1.0 percent during second quarter. Strong gains in coal mining were overshadowed by job losses in support activities for mining (-600 jobs).

The employment decrease in Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation was primarily the result of reclassification of firms to other sectors (such as Accommodation & Food Services) rather than layoffs or other economic events. Similarly, Professional & Technical Services, Management of Companies & Enterprises, Administrative & Waste Services, Private Educational Services, and Other Services were also affected by the reclassification of relatively large firms.

Average weekly wage increased $20 or 3.8 percent. The largest increase in average weekly wage occurred in Utilities, a gain of $128 per week or 10.4 percent. This increase was the result of a bonus paid by a single firm. In Private Educational Services, average weekly wage increased by $58 or 15.7 percent. Average weekly wage in State Government grew by $51 or 8.3 percent because of market pay increases implemented by the Legislature.

Employment and Wages by County

As shown in Table 3, employment increased in 15 of Wyoming’s 23 counties during second quarter. In an effort to increase data quality, the Covered Employment and Wages unit has recently contacted many employers with “nonclassified” geographic codes in order to place them within counties. This has resulted in a significant decrease in employment in the “nonclassified” geographic designation, and corresponding increases in many counties throughout the state. While the long-run result will be higher-quality data, initially some of the employment increases at the county level may simply be interpreted as more accurate reporting, rather than actual increases in the number of jobs in the counties.

Laramie County employment increased by 1,413 jobs or 3.8 percent during second quarter 2002. Local Government fell by about 150 jobs while significant job gains were seen in Construction, Health Care & Social Assistance, and State Government.

Campbell County added 1,265 jobs or 6.4 percent. The largest job gains in Campbell County were in Mining (500 jobs). Employment in Construction, Wholesale Trade, and Retail Trade also grew rapidly.

Natrona County gained 682 jobs or 2.1 percent. Job gains in Construction, Retail Trade, Real Estate & Rental & Leasing, and Health Care & Social Assistance were partially offset by losses in Mining and Manufacturing.

Fremont County grew by 585 jobs or 4.1 percent during second quarter. A large part of this increase was Construction employment related to a new gas plant.

Sheridan County grew by 484 jobs or 4.3 percent during second quarter. Growth was seen across many sectors, including Mining, Manufacturing, Administrative & Waste Services, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Local Government.

Sublette County added 233 jobs or 9.8 percent. Mining posted the largest job gains, and was followed by Retail Trade, Construction, and Local Government.

Sweetwater County lost 455 jobs or 2.4 percent during second quarter. Job losses were seen in Mining, Construction, Manufacturing, Administrative & Waste Services, Accommodation & Food Services, and Local Government. Two sectors that increased employment in Sweetwater County were Finance & Insurance and Real Estate & Rental & Leasing.

Employment fell in Teton County by 283 jobs or 1.7 percent during second quarter 2002. Modest gains in Finance & Insurance were not enough to offset substantial job losses in Construction and Administrative & Waste Services. It is not surprising that employment fell in Construction, since building permits for single family homes in Teton County fell from 114 in the first six months of 2001 to 81 in the first six months of 2002, a decrease of 29.0 percent.2

Average weekly wage increased in all but three of Wyoming’s counties. Sublette County had the largest increase in average weekly wage, a gain of $46 or 9.6 percent.

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.

2U.S. Census Bureau, Manufacturing, Mining, and Construction Statistics, “Building Permits,” December 26, 2002, <http://www.census.gov/const/www/permitsindex.html> (January 24, 2003).


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