© Copyright 2009 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Vol. 46 No. 4

Wyoming Job Growth Slows in February 2009

by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Wyoming’s over-the-year job growth rate declined from 2.1% in January (as revised) to 1.5% in February, its slowest pace since October 2004. Job losses were seen in construction and three other sectors. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.7% in January to 3.9% in February, but remained significantly lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 8.1%.

From January to February, employment increased by 100 jobs (0.0%). The normal seasonal pattern is for employment to rise by approximately 1,400 jobs in February. Usual seasonal job losses were seen in retail trade (-700 jobs, or -2.2%) and they were more than offset by seasonal job gains in government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals; 1,800 jobs, or 2.6%). However, job losses in natural resources & mining (-800 jobs, or -2.7%) were larger than the normal seasonal pattern. Also, leisure & hospitality employment decreased by 500 jobs (-1.5%), while the normal seasonal pattern is for this sector to gain approximately 300 jobs in February.

Over the year Wyoming gained 4,200 jobs, or 1.5%. Government added 3,200 jobs (4.7%), educational & health services added 900 jobs (3.7%), and natural resources & mining added 800 jobs (2.8%). Smaller job gains were seen in wholesale trade (300 jobs, or 3.4%), transportation & utilities (200 jobs, or 1.4%), and other services (200 jobs, or 1.7%). Several sectors were affected by job losses. Construction employment fell by 1,200 jobs (-4.7%), manufacturing fell by 200 jobs (-2.0%), retail trade fell by 100 jobs (-0.3%), and professional & business services fell by 100 jobs (-0.6%).

Unemployment rates in all 23 counties remained higher than February 2008 levels, but approximately half decreased from January to February. Big Horn and Lincoln counties tied for the highest unemployment rate (7.2%), followed by Fremont County (6.5%). The lowest unemployment rates were found in Sublette (2.8%), Albany (2.9%), and Campbell (3.3%) counties.

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