Wyoming Job Growth Continues
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Bolstered by employment gains in Natural Resources & Mining, Wyoming job growth continued at a modest pace in November. Compared to a year earlier, the state added 2,500 jobs or 1.0 percent. In contrast, U.S. employment fell by 230,000 jobs or 0.2 percent.* Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.9 percent in October to 4.0 percent in November, but remained well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.9 percent.
As expected, Wyoming lost 3,300 jobs (-1.3%) from October to November. This seasonal employment decline is consistent with previous years. As colder weather set in, Construction employment fell by 1,000 jobs or 4.9 percent and Leisure & Hospitality employment fell by 2,700 jobs or 9.0 percent. Employment increased slightly in Natural Resources & Mining (200 jobs or 1.1%), Manufacturing (100 jobs or 1.1%), Wholesale Trade (200 jobs or 2.9%), and Retail Trade (200 jobs or 0.7%).
From November 2002, Wyoming gained 2,500 jobs or 1.0 percent. Significant job losses in Construction (-1,000 jobs or -4.9%) and Manufacturing (-300 jobs or -3.0%) were more than offset by gains in Natural Resources & Mining (800 jobs or 4.5%), Wholesale Trade (300 jobs or 4.4%), Educational & Health Services (400 jobs or 2.0%), Leisure & Hospitality (600 jobs or 2.3%), and Government (1,000 jobs or 1.6%). November’s increase in Natural Resources & Mining is the largest seen since February 2002 and appears related to natural gas drilling activity. A portion of the job losses in Construction may be related to the completion of a gas plant project in 2002.
Following their normal seasonal pattern, most county unemployment rates increased from October to November. The exceptions were Uinta County, where unemployment fell from 4.3 percent to 4.1 percent and Washakie County, where unemployment fell from 2.8 percent to 2.7 percent. The highest unemployment rate in November was found in Teton County (5.6%). Unemployment typically peaks in November in Teton County as this month marks the changeover from summer to winter tourist season. Albany County posted the lowest unemployment rate (1.7%).
*For details on U.S. employment, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at http://stats.bls.gov/
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