Copyright 2002 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Job Growth Slows Slightly in March
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Over-the-year Wyoming job growth slowed slightly in March, falling from 2.0 percent in February to 1.6 percent in March. This slowdown was largely the result of job losses in oil & gas extraction. Wyoming's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 3.6 percent to 3.9 percent. It remains well below U.S. unemployment of 5.7 percent. U.S. job growth was down 1.0 percent in March.

Overall, from February to March, Wyoming gained 2,500 jobs or 1.0 percent. However, this increase was smaller than in previous years. An estimated 3,500 jobs were gained in March 2001, and 3,600 jobs in March 2000. From February to March, large gains were seen in Construction (1,400 jobs or 9.2%) and Government (700 jobs or 1.1%). Oil & gas extraction employment fell by 200 jobs or 1.8 percent.

When compared to March 2001, Wyoming added 3,700 jobs or 1.6 percent. The majority of these job gains occurred in three industries: Construction (1,300 jobs or 8.5%), Services (1,600 jobs or 2.9%), and Local Government (700 jobs or 1.7%). Within Services, strong job gains appeared in auto & miscellaneous repair (400 jobs or 12.9%), health services (500 jobs or 4.4%), and social services (400 jobs or 6.3%). Local Government gains occurred in hospitals (200 jobs or 3.8%) and education (300 jobs or 1.3%).

Over-the-year job losses were seen in Manufacturing (-200 jobs or -1.8%), Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities (-100 jobs or -0.7%), and Retail Trade (-400 jobs or -0.9%). Within Retail Trade, employment fell by 200 jobs or 3.9 percent in food stores. Employment also fell slightly in department stores and eating & drinking places.

Across Wyoming's counties, unemployment rates were mixed in March. When compared to March 2001, the unemployment rate increased in Teton County from 1.8 percent to 3.0 percent. Washakie County's unemployment rate increased from 5.6 percent to 6.7 percent as a result of layoffs in Manufacturing. Fremont County's unemployment rate fell significantly from March 2001 to March 2002, decreasing from 7.9 percent to 6.9 percent.

From February to March, unemployment fell in 16 Wyoming counties. The largest decrease occurred in Carbon County, where unemployment fell from 6.6 percent to 5.4 percent. Unemployment also fell significantly in Goshen and Platte Counties.

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