Covered Employment and Wages for Second Quarter 2005: Payroll Growth Accelerates

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

In second quarter 2005, total Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered payroll grew by $154.4 million or 8.1%, much higher than its five-year average (6.3%; see Table 1). Average weekly wage increased by $30 or 5.2%, also above its five-year average (4.2%). Employment also rose at a faster than average rate (2.8% in second quarter compared to the five-year average growth rate of 2.0%).  

    Growth in total wages increased from 6.5% in fourth quarter 2004 to 8.1% in second quarter 2005 (see Figure). Table 2 shows that employment growth has accelerated from 2.0% in third quarter 2004 to 2.8% in second quarter 2005.  

Statewide Employment and Wages by Industry

    The purpose of this article is to show employment and payroll changes between second quarter 2004 and second quarter 2005. These economic changes help us gauge the strength of Wyoming’s economy and identify the fastest and slowest growing industries and geographic areas.  

    The largest job gains occurred in Mining, Construction, Local Government, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Professional & Technical Services (see Table 3).  

    Mining (including oil & gas) added 2,522 jobs or 12.8% in second quarter. Job gains were seen in all three subindustries: oil & gas extraction added about 400 jobs, mining (except oil & gas) added about 200 jobs, and support activities for mining added 1,800 jobs. It appears that continued high energy prices are driving the growth in Wyoming’s Mining industry.  

    Construction employment grew by 832 jobs or 4.2%. Wyoming’s Construction industry seems to be benefiting from low interest rates, increased residential construction, and public school construction.  

    Employment in Local Government increased by 766 jobs or 1.9%. Within Local Government, growth occurred in Educational Services (including public school districts and community colleges), Health Care & Social Assistance, and Public Administration (including cities, towns, and counties).  

    Table 3 has been expanded to present more detail on the Health Care & Social Assistance sector. Overall, Health Care & Social Assistance added 508 jobs or 2.6%. Within that sector, the fastest growing subindustry was hospitals, which gained 121 jobs or 4.4%. Ambulatory health care services was the highest paying subindustry, with an average weekly wage of $832, but it added jobs at a slower-than-average pace (98 jobs or 1.3%).  

    In second quarter Professional & Technical Services grew by 483 jobs or 6.3%. Within Professional & Technical Services, three subindustries grew particularly rapidly: architectural, engineering & related services; computer systems design & related services; and management, scientific, & technical consulting services.  

Employment and Wages by County  

    As shown in Table 4, employment increased in 21 of Wyoming’s 23 counties during second quarter.

    Sweetwater County added 1,605 jobs or 7.9% during second quarter. The largest increases occurred in Mining (including oil & gas), Construction, Transportation & Warehousing, and Accommodation & Food Services.  

    Campbell County also saw strong employment growth during second quarter. It grew by 1,451 jobs or 6.7%. Employment increased across many industries, but was most noteworthy in Mining (including oil & gas), Construction, Transportation & Warehousing, and Administrative & Support Services.  

    Natrona County grew faster than the statewide average, adding 1,342 jobs or 3.8% in second quarter (see Table 5). Mining employment (including oil & gas) increased by 731 jobs or 26.5%. The loss of telemarketing jobs caused employment in Administrative & Support Services to fall by -188 jobs or -10.9%.  

    Table 6 shows that Laramie County grew by 688 jobs or 1.7%. Local Government (including public schools and hospitals) added the largest number of jobs (390 jobs or 6.6%). Employment in Health Care & Social Assistance increased by 128 jobs or 4.2% and Professional & Technical Services also added 128 jobs (9.3%). The decrease in Administrative & Waste Services (-229 jobs or -13.1%) was related to the completion of a project and a business closing in that industry.  

    Lincoln County lost 214 jobs or 3.5% in second quarter. Employment fell in the Construction industry because of the completion of a large project, but many other industries added jobs.  

    Goshen County saw employment fall by 50 jobs or 1.2%. Modest job losses occurred in Agriculture and Construction, while employment was fairly stable in other industries.  

    In summary, Wyoming saw strong employment growth in second quarter 2005. Mining (including oil & gas) continued to dominate job gains, but faster-than-average growth was also seen in Construction, Professional & Technical Services, and Real Estate & Rental & Leasing. Job losses were relatively small and limited to a few industries (most notably Agriculture, Administrative & Waste Services, and Federal Government). Employment increased in all but two of Wyoming’s counties underscoring the breadth of the current expansion.


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