Wyoming Unemployment Increases
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.2 percent in November 2002 to 4.4 percent in December, but remained well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.0 percent. Wyoming job growth continued at a slow pace (1,200 jobs or 0.5%), mainly because of job losses in Mining (especially oil & gas) and Manufacturing. In contrast, the U.S. lost jobs in over-the-year comparisons (-0.2%) as the nation struggled with recession.
From November to December 2002, Wyoming lost 1,400 jobs or 0.6 percent. A decrease of similar magnitude was seen in December 2001. Seasonal decreases in Mining
(-300 jobs or -1.6%), Construction (-1,200 jobs or -6.5%), and Manufacturing (-500 jobs or -4.5%) were only partially offset by gains in Services (400 jobs or 0.7%) and Government (300 jobs or 0.5%).
When compared to December 2001, Wyoming employment grew by 1,200 jobs or 0.5 percent. Job gains in Construction (1,300 jobs or 8.1%), Services (700 jobs or 1.3%), and Government (1,000 jobs or 1.6%) offset losses in Mining (-900 jobs or -4.6%) and Manufacturing (-600 jobs or -5.4%). Within Mining, coal mining grew by 200 jobs, oil & gas extraction fell by 900 jobs, and other Mining industries fell slightly. Within Services, job gains were seen in hotels & other lodging places (300 jobs or 4.1%) and private social services (400 jobs or 6.1%).
As expected, unemployment increased from November to December in 22 of Wyoming’s 23 counties. Teton County’s unemployment rate fell from 4.6 percent in November to 4.0 percent in December as the winter tourist season started. Lincoln County posted the highest unemployment rate in December (7.2%) and Albany County posted the lowest (1.9%).
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