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


Covered Employment and Wages for Third Quarter 2002

by:  David Bullard, Senior Economist

tables by:  Nancy Brennan, Economist


"The largest increase in average weekly wage occurred in Professional & Technical Services ($59 or 9.8%)."

Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered employment1 increased by 1,583 jobs or 0.6 percent during third quarter 2002 compared to third quarter 2001. Third quarter’s employment increase is significantly lower than the five-year average growth of 1.8 percent, signaling a slowdown in job growth in Wyoming (see Table 1). Job losses occurred primarily in Mining (especially support activities for mining) and Manufacturing. This overall slowdown in job growth has been seen in the Current Employment Statistics data for several months (see table). Total payroll increased by 3.4 percent, well below the five-year average of 5.9 percent. Average weekly wage increased by $14 or 2.7 percent, also below its five-year average of 4.0 percent. 

Statewide Employment and Wages by Sector

Each year approximately one-third of the employers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Wyoming are contacted by mail questionnaire 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. Research staff also review employers’ NAICS codes if the business is sold, incorporated, or otherwise changes ownership. In this manner, Research & Planning continuously ensures that employers are assigned to the correct sector category. However, such changes also make direct comparisons across years difficult, as large employers may have moved from one NAICS sector to another.

Table 2 shows that Accommodation & Food Services, Finance & Insurance, Administrative & Waste Services, and Health Care & Social Assistance created the largest number of jobs in third quarter. Accommodation & Food Services gained 1,437 jobs or 4.7 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). Finance & Insurance added 477 jobs or 7.8 percent. A significant part of this increase is due to code changes and does not reflect an actual increase in the number of jobs. Sector codes are changed because businesses sometimes find a more profitable niche in the economy, diversify as they grow, or become more specialized.

On the other hand, real employment increases were seen in the finance sector. Also, Administrative & Waste Services grew by 456 jobs or 6.0 percent, although part of this increase was due to a non-economic code change. Health Care & Social Assistance grew by 404 jobs or 2.3 percent during third quarter. Strong gains were seen in two subsectors, ambulatory health care services (150 jobs) and social assistance (150 jobs). 

Wholesale Trade grew significantly during third quarter, adding 118 jobs or 1.7 percent, part of which was related to the reclassification of a firm from Manufacturing to Wholesale Trade.

Manufacturing employment decreased by 548 jobs or 5.4 percent because of job losses in many subsectors, especially food manufacturing and chemical manufacturing. Manufacturing employment also fell because of the reclassification of firms into other sectors, such as Wholesale Trade. 

Mining employment fell by 824 jobs or 4.3 percent during third quarter. Strong gains in coal mining were overshadowed by job losses in support activities for mining (-900 jobs) and oil & gas extraction (-300 jobs).

The employment decrease in Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation (-601 jobs or 
-16.0 percent) was primarily the result of reclassification of firms to other sectors (such as Accommodation & Food Services, which increased by 1,437 jobs or 4.7 percent) 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 affected by the reclassification of relatively large firms.

Average weekly wage increased $14 or 2.7 percent. The largest increase in average weekly wage occurred in Professional & Technical Services ($59 or 9.8%). Within Professional & Technical Services, the largest wage increases were in legal services and computer systems design & related services. Wages in Mining increased by $37 (3.8%), partly as a result of employment increases in the higher-paying coal mining sector and employment decreases in the slightly lower-paid support activities for mining. Real Estate & Rental & Leasing wages increased by $36 (8.6%) during third quarter. 

Employment and Wages by County

As shown in Table 3, employment increased in 16 of Wyoming’s 23 counties during third 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 (-3,401 jobs or -30.7 percent), 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.

Laramie County employment grew by 1,871 jobs or 5.1 percent. Significant job gains occurred in State Government, Construction, Retail Trade, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Accommodation & Food Services. Manufacturing employment fell slightly.

Natrona County added 742 jobs or 2.3 percent when compared to third quarter 2001. Job gains in Construction, Retail Trade, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Accommodation & Food Services were partially offset by losses in Local Government, Mining, and Manufacturing.

Sheridan County grew by 609 jobs or 5.5 percent as jobs were added across the economy. Growth was particularly strong in Local Government, Mining, Administrative & Waste Services, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Accommodation & Food Services.

Uinta County added 552 jobs or 6.4 percent during third quarter mainly because of job gains in Mining, Construction, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Accommodation & Food Services.

Campbell County grew more slowly than in previous quarters, adding 416 jobs or 2.0 percent. Mining, Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Professional & Technical Services all added jobs, while Construction employment fell significantly.

Employment fell by 124 jobs or 2.9 percent in Converse County. Job losses in Mining and Local Government were only partially offset by gains in Construction, Manufacturing, and Retail Trade.

Albany County lost 89 jobs or 0.6 percent during third quarter. Employment fell in Construction and Retail Trade, but increased significantly in Accommodation & Food Services.

Hot Springs County employment fell by 79 jobs or 3.8 percent in third quarter. Jobs were lost in Construction, Manufacturing, and Accommodation & Food Services.

Big Horn County lost 57 jobs or 1.4 percent during third quarter. Employment fell in Mining and Manufacturing.

Average weekly wage increased in all but one Wyoming county. The largest increase occurred in Weston County where wages increased by $33 or 7.0 percent. Transportation & Warehousing was the largest contributor to higher wages. Platte County average wages increased by $31 or 6.7 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.

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