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


Local Area Unemployment Statistics for Fourth Quarter 2002

by:  Brad Payne, Economist

During fourth quarter 2002, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) employment decreased statewide by 366 jobs or 0.1 percent when compared to fourth quarter 2001 (see Table). While employment declined between fourth quarters 2001 and 2002, employment grew 1.3 percent between fourth quarters 2000 and 2001. Similarly, the labor force decreased by 67 or 0.02 percent between fourth quarter 2001 and fourth quarter 2002 while unemployment increased by 299 or 2.9 percent over the same time period. The 2.9 percent increase in unemployment is less than half the percent increase posted between fourth quarters 2000 and 2001 - when unemployment increased 7.7 percent. The unemployment rate during fourth quarter 2002 was 3.9 percent while the unemployment rate during fourth quarter 2001 was 3.8 percent. 

Within Wyoming, the Central and Southwest regions experienced negative employment growth while the Northwest and two eastern regions posted positive over-the-year employment growth. Of the regions showing growth, the Northeast region recorded the highest rate of growth (2.2%) by adding 1,024 jobs. Employment growth in Campbell (648 jobs), Sheridan (322 jobs), and Johnson (190 jobs) counties offset employment losses in Weston and Crook counties.

The statewide increase in unemployment was a result of all but the Southwest region showing unemployment growth. Unemployment in the Central region grew by 7.8 percent (156 individuals) while growing 5.2 percent in the Northeast region, 4.2 percent in the Northwest region, and 2.9 percent in the Southeast region. Within the Central region, Natrona County led the region and the State as the number of unemployed increased by 183 individuals or 13.4 percent.

The most dramatic quarter to quarter increases in the unemployment rates were found in Niobrara, Converse, and Platte counties. Niobrara County’s quarter to quarter change in the unemployment rate was 1.2 percent (up from 3.1% in fourth quarter 2001 to 4.3% in fourth quarter 2002). Converse County’s unemployment rate increased from 3.6 percent in fourth quarter 2001 to 4.7 percent in fourth quarter 2002 (a change of 1.1%). Platte County’s unemployment rate increased from 3.4 percent to 4.5 percent (a change of 1.1%). In Niobrara, Converse, and Platte counties, decreases in the labor force and the number employed, with a corresponding increase in the number of unemployed, contributed to the rise in the unemployment rates.

Carbon and Johnson counties posted the largest declines in the unemployment rates between fourth quarters 2001 and 2002. The unemployment rates fell from 4.8 percent to 3.8 percent in Carbon County (a difference of 1.0%) and 3.5 percent to 2.7 percent in Johnson County (a difference of 0.8%). While the decrease in the unemployment rate for Carbon County was driven by decreases in unemployment, employment, and the labor force, Johnson County’s unemployment rate decrease was a function of a 4.2 percent increase in the labor force and a 21.5 percent decrease in unemployment.

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