Unemployment Remains Low in April
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusteda unemployment rate held steady at 3.4 percent in April, a substantial decrease from 4.5 percent in April 2003. It remains well below the U.S. rate of 5.6 percent. Wyoming nonagricultural employment continued to grow at a healthy pace as the state added 4,800 jobs (2.0%) compared to April 2003. U.S. nonagricultural employment improved slightly, growing by 1.1 million jobs (0.9%) from April 2003.
From March to April, Wyoming nonagricultural employment increased by 2,700 jobs or 1.1 percent. This increase is consistent with historical spring patterns. Employment gains were seen in Natural Resources & Mining (300 jobs or 1.6%), Construction (1,000 jobs or 5.8%), Retail Trade (600 jobs or 2.1%), Professional & Business Services (300 jobs or 2.0%), and Educational & Health Services (400 jobs or 1.9%).
From April 2003, Wyoming added 4,800 jobs or 2.0 percent. As in previous months, the largest over-the-year increase occurred in Natural Resources & Mining (1,800 jobs or 10.3%), and is likely the result of increased drilling for natural gas. Other growing industries included Wholesale Trade (300 jobs or 4.3%), Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (300 jobs or 2.6%), Financial Activities (500 jobs or 5.0%), Educational & Health Services (700 jobs or 3.4%), and Government (1,500 jobs or 2.3%). Employment fell in Information (-200 jobs or -4.9%), the industry which includes telecommunications firms.
As expected, unemployment rates fell in every county except Teton. April marks the changeover from winter to summer tourist seasons in Teton County, as such unemployment rate increased from 3.3 percent in March to 6.6 percent in April. Teton County’s April unemployment rate was also the highest in the state. The largest decreases in unemployment rates were seen in Johnson County (down from 2.8% in March to 1.6% in April), Sheridan County (down from 4.1% to 3.0%), Carbon County (down from 4.9% to 3.9%), and Big Horn County (down from 4.8% to 3.8%). Johnson County had the lowest unemployment rate in Wyoming (1.6%).
aUnemployment levels in Wyoming change dramatically over the course of the year because of regular seasonal events such as weather, harvest, and the opening and closing of schools. Because such events happen each year, we can adjust the unemployment estimates to take out their effects. The seasonally adjusted estimates then become a better indicator of the overall health of the economy.
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