Unemployment Falls in February
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.9 percent in January to 3.5 percent in February. It is well below its year-ago level of 4.5 percent and the national unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. Job growth continued at a healthy pace as Wyoming added 4,800 jobs (2.0%). Wyoming’s labor force (the sum of employed and unemployed individuals) grew at a somewhat slower pace (1.1%).
From January to February, the number of jobs in Wyoming was little changed (-300 jobs or -0.1%). Seasonal job losses affected Construction (-700 jobs or -4.1%), Retail Trade (-400 jobs or -1.4%), and Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (-300 jobs or -2.5%). Job growth was seen in Leisure & Hospitality (200 jobs or 0.7%), Information (200 jobs or 4.9%), and Government (1,000 jobs or 1.6%).
In over-the-year comparisons, Wyoming gained 4,800 jobs or 2.0 percent. This level of growth seems to indicate a rebound in Wyoming’s economy from the brief slowdown which occurred during 2002 and 2003. Natural Resources & Mining (including oil & gas) added 1,900 jobs or 11.0 percent. Other industries with substantial growth included Construction (200 jobs or 1.2%), Manufacturing (200 jobs or 2.2%), Financial Activities (700 jobs or 7.1%), Educational & Health Services (600 jobs or 2.9%), and Government (1,100 jobs or 1.7%). Job losses occurred in Leisure & Hospitality (-200 jobs or -0.7%) and Other Services (-300 jobs or -3.2%).
Most county unemployment rates were stable or down slightly in February. The largest decreases occurred in Niobrara County (down from 4.3% in January to 3.3% in February) and Carbon County (down from 6.3% to 5.6%). The unemployment rate increased in Weston (up from 3.7% in January to 4.2% in February), Washakie (4.3% in January, 4.5% in February), Goshen (4.8% in January, 4.9% in February), and Lincoln counties (6.1% in January, 6.2% in February).
The counties with the largest over-the-year employment growth were Natrona (1,286), Campbell (678), Park (578), and Sweetwater (543).
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